Should companies offer better policies?

Executive Summary

The United States is the only industrialized nation that does not require companies to offer paid leave to its workers to care for a baby, a sick relative or themselves. That is changing slowly, economists say, as more companies recognize that it makes business sense to provide paid leave to their employers. Silicon Valley, which is in a recruiting war with its tech rivals for the best talent, has taken the lead in offering more-generous time-off policies. But outside of the technology sector, many businesses—especially small ones—find it impractical or too expensive to offer paid leave. As few as 6 percent of low-wage earners can take paid maternity leave, and more than 40 percent of U.S. employees have no paid sick days.

Among the key takeaways:

  • In the absence of federal guidance on the issue, talent-hungry corporations are writing their own rules in an effort to recruit and retain skilled young employees.

  • President Trump during the 2016 campaign became the first Republican nominee to endorse paid maternity leave, but he has not pushed to enact such a policy.

  • One survey found that 45 percent of firms with fewer than 100 employees would support a mandatory leave policy funded through employer and employee payroll contributions.

Overview

Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg is urging businesses to improve their family leave policies. Facebook is offering employees up to 20 paid days off to grieve the death of an immediate family member.

(Patrick T. Fallon/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

When Facebook Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg announced an upgrade to the tech giant’s package of paid leave policies in February, she framed the issue in vividly personal terms, recalling how much her children needed her when her husband died unexpectedly in 2015.

And then Sandberg issued a stark challenge to other businesses to “step-up and lead” by adopting similar policies facilitating family leave.

“Making it easier for more Americans to be the workers and family members they want to be will make our economy and country stronger,” Sandberg wrote in a Facebook post announcing the new policy. “Companies that stand by the people who work for them do the right thing and the smart thing – it helps them serve their mission, live their values, and improve their bottom line by increasing the loyalty and performance of their workforce.”1

Facebook is offering its 17,000 employees up to 20 paid days off to grieve the death of an immediate family member and 10 days for the loss of an extended family member; it already offers four months of paid parental leave to new mothers and fathers. Employees of the social media company also have a newly minted six weeks of paid time to care for a seriously ill relative and three days to spend with a family member suffering from a short-term illness.2

Few corporations outside of Silicon Valley have adopted such robust paid leave policies; in fact, just 12 percent of U.S. private-sector workers have access to paid family leave through their employers, according to the Department of Labor.3 As few as 6 percent of low-wage earners may take paid maternity leave.4 More than 40 percent of U.S. employees have no paid sick days.5

But Facebook is just the latest in a string of high-profile technology businesses to up their game when it comes to paying employees for the time they take off to care for a baby, a sick relative or themselves. Adobe in 2015 expanded its paid parental leave program to 26 weeks for new moms; Amazon excuses pregnant employees, with pay, for four weeks before they give birth and 10 weeks after.

Similarly, Apple lets expectant mothers take off four weeks before a birth and 14 weeks after, and fathers and adoptive or foster parents get six weeks of paid family leave.6 Birth mothers who work for Google and Squarespace can take 18 weeks of fully paid leave.7 And Netflix outdid all of its competitors with a 2015 parental leave policy that pays new mothers and fathers their regular salaries for up to a year after childbirth or an adoption.8

In addition, a handful of companies, including General Electric, Grubhub, Netflix and LinkedIn, offer some employees unlimited time off for illness, vacations and family matters. (See Short Article, “More Companies Offering Unlimited Time Off.”)

Outside of the tech industry, a few financial and personal services firms like Deloitte; hospitality chains like Hilton; retailers like Starbucks; and energy companies like Duke Energy in North Carolina have improved their paid parental leave policies over the past few years.

Many smaller businesses, on the other hand, work informally with their employees to accommodate family and medical absences on a case-by-case basis rather than writing formal policies, says Aparna Mathur, resident scholar in economic policy studies for the conservative think tank American Enterprise Institute in Washington, D.C. “Small businesses can work something out with employees if they take leave,” she says. “They feel much more responsibility in some ways toward their employees because there are so few of them.”

“The big picture is that companies are recognizing that it makes business sense to provide paid … leave,” says Sarah Fleisch Fink, director of workplace policy and senior counsel for the nonprofit National Partnership for Women & Families, an advocacy organization focusing on work and family, workplace fairness and women’s health. “They recognize it because it improves employee morale; it can increase productivity and reduce turnover; it can help them compete for talent. Otherwise, we wouldn’t see—almost weekly—companies coming out with these policies.”

Although the 24-year-old federal Family and Medical Leave Act requires companies with more than 50 employees to allow staff members to miss up to 12 weeks of work for childbirth, a long sickness or a loved one’s serious illness—and to guarantee that their jobs or something comparable will be waiting for them when they get back—the United States is the only industrialized nation without a policy to pay them for it.9

In the absence of federal guidance on the issue, talent-hungry corporations and state governments are writing their own rules in an effort to recruit and retain skilled young employees.

“They’re going above and beyond the law,” says Corinne Jones, president of consulting firm CJC Human Resource Services in New York. “As their HR advisers, we’re saying, ‘Here’s what you need to do to retain the best employees.’ ”

From California to Boston, competition for qualified employees, especially in technical and other high-skill fields, has become fierce as the U.S. economy continues to improve and the labor market tightens.10 Millennials, many of whom have delayed marriage and children, are slowly beginning to start their families and are shopping for employers offering family-friendly benefits.11

Amazon is rethinking its parental leave policies in an effort to attract Millennials. Pregnant employees can take four weeks off before they give birth with pay and 10 weeks after.

(John Tlumacki/The Boston Globe via Getty Images)

“Millennial employees like tech,” says Kenneth Matos, vice president of research for the Park Ridge, Ill., consulting firm Life Meets Work. “So Amazon, Netflix, American Express, they’re rethinking their parental leave policies to try to expand them to deal with the attractive people. Their jobs used to be their priority. But now they want to become parents.”

As early as 2015, the professional services firm Ernst & Young found in a study that 74 percent of Millennials consider paid parental leave “important.”12

So, apparently, does President Trump, who, during his 2016 campaign, became the first Republican presidential nominee to endorse paid maternity leave.13 During his January address to Congress, the president proposed that mothers get six weeks of paid, post-childbirth leave. The plan has come under fire by advocates of paternity leave, who cite the importance of fathers in shaping the culture of a new family.

An April Gallup Poll showed that 81 percent of Americans—both Republicans and Democrats—support federal legislation for paid maternity leave.14

But Trump has not made the effort a major policy emphasis. Part of the holdup, says Fink, is the difficulty in finding a way to pay for the benefit.

In most countries with mandates for paid parental leave and sick days, the national government foots the bill. Federal lawmakers, especially Republicans, are not keen on doing that in the United States.

“We’ve realized that parental leave has tentacles,” says Rose Stanley, a senior practice leader at human resources trade association WorldatWork, “which is probably why organizations and even the government are going, ‘What do we do with this?’ … How are organizations paying? Should they have to pay? How are they able to pay? … We want to know.”

For small businesses, Stanley says, “it’s obviously financially going to be an issue.”

In a memo to state legislators before they adopted New York’s paid family leave law, which will take effect next January, Frank Kerbein of the. Center for Human Resources of the Business Council of New York State. The law, he wrote, will burden small businesses with the cost of replacing employees while they are on extended leaves. Plus, he said business owners—not the government—should determine employment policies for their companies.15

In fact, the 1993 federal Family and Medical Leave Act exempts businesses with fewer than 50 employees from having to allow even unpaid leave for extended absences. But most state proposals would apply to all companies, regardless of the size of their workforces.

Still, a survey by the advocacy group Small Business Majority found that 45 percent of firms with fewer than 100 employees would support a mandatory leave policy that is paid for through employer and employee payroll contributions.16

Mathur confirms that most businesses, even small ones, agree that employees are entitled to paid time off to care for family. “Neither employers nor employees are opposing the policies,” she says. “They know the larger problem is not having access to paid leave when you need it.”

Aparna Mathur: “Neither employers nor employees are opposing the policies. They know the larger problem is not having access to paid leave when you need it.”

Studies by economists and family advocates generally have reached the same conclusion: Offering paid time off for childbirth, family medical emergencies, annual vacations and even the sniffles retains female employees, makes working parents more productive on the job, improves families’ financial security and lowers young mothers’ dependence on government assistance. Plus, it boosts a business’s bottom line because it saves employers from having to recruit, hire and train replacements for moms who decide not to return to work after childbirth.17

“Organizations as a whole want to give, and they want to get back,” says Stanley. “They know that the way they get back productivity, innovation and creativity is by treating their employees in a way that works well for both of them. But a lot of organizations don’t have that mindset.

“They are beginning to.”

As businesses, legislators, family advocates and employees weigh in on the pros and cons of employer- and government-paid leave, here are some of the issues being debated:

Weighing the Issues

Is paying for leave good for businesses?

When Google increased its paid maternity leave from 12 to 18 weeks in 2007, it cut the number of new mothers who quit their jobs in half.18

“It may sound counterintuitive, but the research—and Google’s own experience—shows a generous paid maternity leave actually increases retention,” Susan Wojcicki, CEO of Google subsidiary YouTube, wrote in the The Huffington Post. “When women are given a short leave, or they’re pressured to be on call, some decide it’s just not worth it to return.”19

Wojcicki’s point: Technology firms, which spend enormous time and money recruiting and training female employees, can stop the ones they already have from leaving when they want to spend more time bonding with their babies.

Companies that offer substantial paid family leave to employees agree.

“Paid parental leave will help us recruit and retain the next generation of highly skilled workers,” Melissa Anderson, chief human resources officer for Charlotte, N.C.-based Duke Energy, said of the firm’s decision to offer the benefit for the first time this year.20

The electric utility had little choice, as it recruits from the same talent pool as a handful of other large, Charlotte-based companies that already offer paid family leave.

The same is true for any company in a competitive field. A year ago, Ernst & Young boasted that its new policy to provide 16 weeks of parental leave at full pay for new mothers and fathers in its U.S. offices “blows our competitors’ benefits out of the water.” EY also added policies to offer up to $25,000 for fertility, surrogacy, adoption and egg-freezing services.21

Five months later, competitor Deloitte splashed back, with an announcement the firm called “a first of its kind for professional services,” matching EY’s 16 weeks of paid leave, but offering it to any caregiver-employee, including those with sick relatives and elderly parents.22

Those generous benefits are aimed at potential employees, who apparently are taking notice. In a November-December 2016 survey of 5,934 adults who took or wanted to take paid family or medical leave, that benefit was cited more than any other as the most helpful, according to the nonpartisan Pew Research Center.23

The employer also benefits, according to various studies: New mothers who take paid leave typically return to work within nine to 12 months of childbirth, and first-time moms who use the benefit are more likely to return to the same employer than those who do not take it, according to the National Partnership for Women & Families.24 In addition, Congress’ Joint Economic Committee has found that businesses gain from retaining workers—especially those who are highly skilled—that they might lose without a paid leave benefit. And they save on the “sizable costs” of recruiting, hiring and training replacement employees.25

Evidence of that can be found in California, the first of four states to enact paid maternity leave laws for all businesses. The state, which passed its milestone program in 2002, uses employee and employer payroll taxes to pay new mothers and fathers 55 percent of their salaries, up to $1,173 per week, for six weeks to bond with a new child.26 Employees who care for seriously ill family members may also use the benefit.

Similarly, many of the private-sector companies that offer paid maternity leave funnel the benefit through their group disability plans, according to Derek Winn, lead consultant with Business Benefits Group, a Fairfax, Va.-based benefits broker. New fathers, however, do not qualify for disability benefits, he says.

A Labor Department study found in 2014 that adding the California benefit increased the amount of time new mothers are absent from work by about two-and-a-half weeks. But researchers concluded that the cost to cover their duties during their leaves might be offset by mothers who take the leave rather than quitting their jobs. A separate study found that California’s law “had either a positive effect or no effect on productivity, profit, morale and costs.” In that study, California businesses owners said the paid leave policy did not affect their firms’ performance or profit margins.27

While businesses reap best-in-class recruitment and retention status from a paid parental leave benefit, so does the economy, the Labor Department said. New mothers who are earning while on leave are less likely to tap public assistance benefits, the department said. The department has found that because paid maternity leave makes it easier for women to continue working after they have children, it contributes to female labor force participation.28

Some small-business owners, however, say these results don’t apply to them. Jeb Breithaupt, owner of an 11-employee remodeling firm in Shreveport, La., says each member of his small staff has a skills-specific job. Anyone’s extended absence, he says, would substantially slow business down. (See Expert Views, “Q&A: Jeb Breithaupt on Paid Leave.”)

Like others, Breithaupt says a government-enforced paid leave benefit would burden his company more than it would a corporation.

Like-minded business owners pushed hard—unsuccessfully—against a District of Columbia proposal to create a fund to pay private-sector employees up to 90 percent of their wages for a family or medical leave of eight weeks.

“You can’t treat a mom-and-pop operation the same as a national chain; [they] operate on a much smaller profit margin,” D.C. council member Nathan Ackerman explained. He called for an exception for businesses with fewer than 50 employees.29

Should the federal government mandate paid time off for public- and private-sector employees?

Whether Congress will enact a national law requiring paid leave for new parents after the birth of a child has—fairly suddenly—become a conversation about “when” rather than “if.”

During the 2016 presidential campaign, Trump endorsed such a law, reportedly at the urging of his daughter, Ivanka, the mother of two sons and a daughter.30 The break with conservative tradition has given hope to advocates of a federal family and medical leave law that provides for at least some wage replacement for new parents and for other employees who may miss work to care for a seriously ill loved one.

Still, neither Trump nor the Republican-controlled Congress has made paid leave a priority, at least for this year, says attorney Joan C. Williams, chair and director of the Center for WorkLife Law at the University of California’s Hastings College of Law. “The good news is that Ivanka Trump is interested in paid leave,” she says. “The bad news continues to be that the House is not, and now the Senate presumably isn’t, either.”

Joan C. Williams: “The good news is that Ivanka Trump is interested in paid leave. The bad news continues to be that the House is not.”

Trump’s support came at a time when a fair number of conservatives, including those at the American Action Forum, a center-right think tank, and the American Enterprise Institute, were already tossing around ideas for establishing a federal paid-leave benefit.

A pre-election proposal from the American Action Forum promoted a paid leave benefit for employees with incomes lower than $28,000. The proposal called for low-income workers to take home up to $3,500 over 12 weeks.31 And Republican Sen. Deb Fisher of Nebraska reintroduced her Strong Families Act, which would create a tax incentive for businesses to offer two weeks of paid family leave a year. Fisher introduced the bill in 2014 and 2015 without success.32

Advocates from both political parties have suggested that this might be a better year for such proposals, thanks partly to Trump’s embrace of a paid leave law, coupled with a renewed attention to women’s issues brought about, in part, by half a million participants in a women’s march on Washington and around the country the day after the president’s inauguration.33

Trump has not offered many details of what he might propose, only that he would like to offer new mothers six weeks of paid leave after childbirth. After criticism from advocates of paternity leave, he indicated he might be willing to allow paid leave for new fathers as well.34

Mathur of the American Enterprise Institute says a reluctance to pass a federal paid leave law remains among members of Congress—and it is driven by politics.

“We traditionally have few policies that are considered anti-business,” she says. “Some people phrase it as a mandate on businesses to provide this leave, and businesses have to figure out how to pay for it.… [They believe] this is not something the government needs to do. Businesses need to do it on their own at whatever cost is comfortable to them. It’s more the politics of it that has prevented the U.S. from passing this legislation.”

WorldatWork’s Stanley agrees.

“I don’t know if America wants to run that way,” she says. “What’s unique in the U.S. is that companies take it upon themselves to figure out how we become more competitive, how that competitiveness helps build up our brand, our profitability, our shareholder value. It is sort of what America is known for.”

As is true with so many legislative efforts, competing proposals are making their way through Congress.

Trump’s original plan, which has not yet been introduced in Congress, would reserve wage replacement to working birth mothers. Most advocates support a broader law that covers adoptive and foster parents as well as any employee who misses work to care for a seriously ill relative.35

Matos of Life Meets Work is one of them. Limiting paid leave to birth mothers, he says, could “re-create the gender divide that creates the same problems for women in terms of career advancement and opportunity.… Even if we supported getting this maternity leave through, it would make any [proposals] in the future even harder for a broader, less gender approach to parental leave.”

Still, Matos says, “The current political climate is very volatile. It could really go in more directions than I can understand.”

Congressional Democrats have issued their own version of paid leave in the Family and Medical Insurance Leave (FAMILY) Act, which would pay for wage reimbursement with a 0.2 percent surtax on wages paid by both employers and employees.36 The proposal calls for 12 weeks of paid leave at 66 percent of monthly wages for employees who give birth or adopt a new child, fall seriously ill or need to care for an immediate family member with a long-term health condition.37

Democrats offered up this bill, without success, in 2013 and 2015. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y., and Rep. Rosa DeLauro, D-Conn., modeled it on statewide paid leave laws in California, New Jersey, Rhode Island and New York, which pay employees on leave from self-sustaining funds dispersed by the state governments.38

It failed, in part, because critics—including many Republicans and some businesses—objected to imposing additional government regulations on companies, despite evidence that the California law on which it was modeled has reported a neutral effect on the state’s businesses.39

Its fate this year is anyone’s guess, says Fink of the National Partnership for Women & Families. “There appears to be a recognition that there is a problem with not having paid family leave, on both sides of the aisle.… It’s progress.”

Can employees take paid leave without damaging their careers?

In Singapore, a universal Employment Act guarantees employees with six or more months on the job 14 paid sick days each year and 60 days of paid hospital leave. But Singapore Airlines employees have accused their company of retaliating against those who take advantage of that legal right by denying them promotions.

The airline has a more generous leave policy than the national law requires: It offers 28 days of paid medical leave and six months off, with pay, for a hospital stay brought on by a chronic or prolonged illness. It bases promotions, in part, on points that employees earn each year for their service. Workers have claimed that the firm deducts points for each medical absence.

The airline has denied those claims.40

In the United States, no federal mandate requires employers to pay workers for sick days, parental leave or vacations. Yet studies show that employees who work for firms that voluntarily offer them often are reluctant to use the benefits for fear of derailing their careers.

The travel company Expedia’s 2016 Vacation Deprivation report, for instance, revealed that Americans left an average of three paid vacation days apiece unclaimed last year.41 That added up to 375 million unused paid days off.

In the survey of 9,424 working adults in 28 countries, 9 percent of Americans said they worried that their absence from work would “be perceived negatively,” according to Expedia. About 14 percent reported feeling guilty for taking time off, the survey found. In fact, 6 percent said they felt so guilty that they did not take any time off in 2016.42

Yet 21 percent of Americans in the survey ranked additional vacation as their “second most-prized work incentive,” trailing flexible work hours by just 1 percent.43

That practice isn’t new. Project: Time Off, an advocacy group that promotes a cultural shift toward embracing time off from work as essential to success and good health, found that Americans’ use of vacation days has dipped during most years since 2000.44

And the practice is not limited to vacations. Although the number of employers offering paid family leave policies is expanding, their use by new mothers is not, according to research by Ohio State University economist Jay Zagorsky.45

In an interview, Zagorsky said some women blame their choice to eschew paid leave on a perception that they will stall their career progress. But more likely, he says, the women cannot afford to take the leave because the income replacement their employers offer is rarely 100 percent.

For example, in California—the first state to adopt a policy for paid maternity leave, and later, for paternity leave for all public- and private-sector employees—those taking paid family leave qualify for reimbursement of 55 percent of their weekly wages for up to six weeks.46 “Not everyone can afford to take half pay or no pay,” Zagorsky says. “If you live paycheck to paycheck and you have the possibility of taking off two months, but of taking off those two months without any [or full] pay, it might not be financially feasible.”

The result: The number of women taking maternity leave in 2015 was about the same as it was in 1994, an average of 273,000 per month, Zagorsky’s research showed. The use of an extended leave after childbirth is static, he says, even though four states and the District of Columbia have added paid leave policies since 1994 and the economy has grown by 66 percent.47

Zagorsky calls the statistics “surprising and troubling.”

The American Enterprise Institute’s Mathur says the think tank’s studies have shown that California mothers would have taken longer maternity leaves if their wage replacement were greater than 55 percent. “Paid leave is definitely an improvement over unpaid leave,” Mathur says, “but how you design the paid leave policy is important.”

Kenneth Matos: Many women and men “feel afraid to offer information to their bosses about taking time off for maternity and family.”

Mathur points to the latest National Compensation Survey from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), which reports that 13 percent of private-sector workers in the United States have access to paid family leave.48 But the 2012 BLS American Time Use Survey shows that fewer than 10 percent of employees who took paid or unpaid leave for any reason used it to care for children or sick family members.49

The use of paid leave by new fathers across the United States, on the other hand, increased from 5,800 men a month in 1994 to 22,000 a month in 2015, Zagorsky’s research revealed.50

And while 47.5 percent of women who took maternity leave in 2015 were paid something during their absence from work, 70.7 percent of men on leave were, according to Zagorsky’s report.51

Matos observes that men who take time off to bond with a newborn or care for a sick family member are more likely than women to be embraced when they return to the office.

“People will say, ‘He’s a father now; he needs this job,’ ” says Matos. But for women who take extended leaves, he says, “people will not be giving her her assignments back.”

Matos says many women and men “feel afraid to offer information to their bosses about taking time off for maternity and family.” He says he looks forward to the day when executives and managers will say, “I know this is a tumultuous time. Let’s figure something out that works for both of us.”

Until then, Matos says, new mothers who would like to work while raising their families will quit their jobs in larger numbers than necessary. And bosses, he says, “will wish they would have told them [what they needed] before they quit.”

Background

European Head Start

America has no national law guaranteeing working mothers will continue to earn all or part of their salaries while they are on maternity leave. Four states—California, New Jersey, New York and Rhode Island, plus the District of Columbia—have statewide laws that provide pay to new parents on leave.

California’s landmark 2002 law came 119 years after the world’s first paid leave law, which Germany enacted countrywide in 1883.52

The Europeans pioneered both unpaid and paid maternity leaves. Switzerland was the first country in the world to offer working mothers time off to give birth, when it adopted a law in 1877 providing for eight weeks of upaid leave for use before and after childbirth. That law forbade factory workers from returning to work for six weeks after delivery.

A year later, Germany enacted a three-week leave law, also unpaid. In 1883, Germany amended its policy to legislate paid leave for three weeks after a birth for women who had insurance. Austria-Hungary did the same; both laws left the amount of the payment up to the women’s insurance companies.53

Over the next 30 years, Great Britain, Portugal, Norway, Sweden, Holland and Belgium passed national laws providing unpaid time off from work for childbirth. In 1911, Sweden opened maternity and convalescent homes, where workingwomen and their babies could stay as the moms recovered from childbirth. Two years later, France joined Switzerland as one of two European countries that allowed maternity leave to begin before a baby was born. And by then, Luxembourg, Switzerland and Sweden had adopted Germany and Austria-Hungary’s paid maternity leave model.54

Today, the United States is the only developed country without a paid parental leave mandate. Of the 193 countries in the United Nations, only a handful have no national paid leave policy; besides the United States, the others are Papua New Guinea, Suriname and several South Pacific Island nations.55

Federal Intervention

Work and family advocates were able to garner bipartisan political support in Congress to pass the 1993 Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), but not until the legislation had been proposed—and failed—nine times over nine years.56

FMLA requires employers with 50 or more employees to allow them 12 weeks a year of unpaid leave for the following reasons:

  • To deliver and care for the employee’s newborn baby;

  • To adopt or accept a child for foster care;

  • To take care of a seriously ill spouse, child or parent;

  • To take medical leave when the employee is seriously ill and unable to work;

  • To deal with any urgent demands created by the status of an employee’s next of kin as an active duty or reserve member of the military. The law allows 26 weeks of unpaid leave for an immediate family member to care for a seriously injured or ill military member.

Employees who use FMLA leave have jobs waiting when they return. However, the law does not require employers to offer returning workers their original jobs; they are entitled to positions with the same pay and benefits as the ones they had before they took the leave.57

FMLA is not intended as a stand-in for sick days, which 56 percent of small-business employees and 79 percent of employees at larger companies had access to in 2016, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.58 Sick days—as opposed to family and medical leave—are for employees to use when they wake up with the flu or a migraine headache and need to miss a day or two of work, for example.

The Labor Department’s Wage and Hour Division amended its interpretation of the FMLA in 2015 to update its definition of “spouse” to include eligible employees in same-sex marriages. The change brought the law into compliance with a 2013 U.S. Supreme Court decision that overturned the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act. That act held that “marriage” and “spouse” referred only to a union between a man and a woman.59

The FMLA applies to public- and private-sector employees in all states. It does not, however, restrict states or private businesses from voluntarily offering more generous medical and family leave benefits to their employees. It also does not prohibit companies with fewer than 50 employees—those exempt from FMLA—from offering their own family and medical leave benefit.

After California enacted its law in 2002, New Jersey followed in 2008, Rhode Island in 2013 and New York in 2016. In 2007, Washington Gov. Christine O’Grady Gregoire signed a state law for paid family leave, but it never took effect because of a lack of funding. In 2017, the District of Columbia adopted a paid family leave law, which will take effect in 2020.60

Paid Leave Policies Proliferate

Between 2015 and 2017, 71 large American companies adopted their own versions of paid family and medical leave, according to the National Partnership for Women & Families. Aside from tech companies, the list includes retailers such as Nordstrom, which offers birth mothers 12 weeks of paid leave; restaurant chains such as Starbucks, where working moms who do not work in stores get 18 weeks of paid leave for childbirth and store employees get six weeks of paid and 12 weeks of unpaid leave; and financial firms, including American Express, whose new policy allows up to 28 weeks for its working parents.61

Some of the companies offer a few weeks of paid leave and an optional allotment of additional unpaid weeks; others include paid time off to care for sick relatives; and many offer lengthy paid leaves to adoptive and foster parents.

Family and medical leave laws are more comprehensive than state and corporate policies for sick days. While the federal government does not require that employees receive paid sick leave, nearly 40 state and local governments do.62

In 2006, San Francisco became the first city to require local businesses to offer paid sick days to all employees, including part-timers and temporary workers.

(David Paul Morris/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

San Francisco in 2006 became the first city to enact its own law requiring local businesses to pay employees for the days they miss due to illness. The law requires employers to pay all employees, including those who work part time or in temporary jobs, for sick days. Employees accrue their sick days at a rate of one hour for every 30 hours worked after 90 days on the job.63

Between 2007, when the law took effect, and 2009, the proportion of San Francisco businesses offering paid sick days increased from 73 percent to 91 percent, mostly at firms with fewer than 100 employees, indicating that many of the city’s larger firms were voluntarily offering the benefit before the law required it. By 2009, 99 percent of San Francisco firms with more than 20 employees offered sick leave, according to research published in the American Journal of Public Health.64

Connecticut became the first state to enact a paid sick day law in 2012. Since then, California, Massachusetts, Oregon, Vermont, Arizona and Washington have adopted laws requiring employers to offer paid sick days to employees.65 Connecticut’s law is for employees who have worked at least 680 hours, and the leave is accrued.66

In addition, 30 cities and two counties—Montgomery County, Md., and Cook County, Ill.—have sick day laws.67 In a handful of other states, paid sick days legislation is working its way through legislatures.

The proposed federal Healthy Families Act would require businesses with 15 or more employees to offer each employee up to seven paid sick days per year to recover from illness, visit doctors, care for ill family members or attend school meetings about a child’s health condition or disability.68

WorldatWork has estimated that organizations offer an average of seven to 11 days of sick time off each year.69

For the past decade, companies have drifted away from the traditional model for sick days, which allows employees to accrue hours every pay period to be used for sick days later. In a 2016 WorldatWork survey, a growing number of human resources professionals in most industries said they prefer to offer sick and vacation days in a single bucket, called a Paid Time Off, or PTO, bank.

For example, 42 percent of HR managers in publicly traded companies said they use paid time off banks; 51 percent of privately held firms prefer PTO banks; and 44 percent of nonprofits and private-sector companies use them.70

Current Situation

A Double Edge

Netflix reaped positive publicity last August when it announced that it would begin allowing new mothers and fathers to take as much leave as they wanted with full pay during the first year after a child’s birth or adoption. Virgin, which owns the airline Virgin Atlantic, was likewise praised when it announced in 2015 that it would offer up to 52 weeks of leave, paid at 100 percent of the new parents’ salary, to biological and adoptive parents.

In both cases, it turned out, the policies came with a catch: Netflix’s paid leave offer applied only to salaried employees who work in the entertainment company’s digital operations, and not to those working in DVD distribution centers. That left at least 450 of its 3,500 workers without the benefit.71 And at Virgin, which employs more than 50,000, just 140 qualified for paid parental leave.72

The benefits “rang hollow,” says Matos of Life Meets Work. The announcements, he says, were deliberately sketchy on details so they would reap the greatest public relations value. But they reflected a practice not uncommon among businesses vying for a limited number of highly skilled technical workers such as engineers and IT professionals: The most valued employees are offered the best benefits, he says.

Still, both companies caught flak from the media and the public. One Netflix fan collected almost 8,000 signatures urging the movie streaming and DVD distribution company to make warehouse workers, including hourly employees, eligible. “It’s wrong for Netflix to create two classes of employees,” the fan, Shannon Murphy, wrote in a blog on Coworker.org. “Already, there’s a divide between higher income earners (especially in the tech industry) and low-wage workers in terms of access to important benefits like parental leave.”73

In response, Netflix created a paid leave policy for hourly employees in its streaming, DVD distribution and customer service divisions, but the benefits differ. Hourly workers in the streaming operation get 16 weeks of fully paid maternity, paternity or adoption leave; customer service employees get 14 weeks; and DVD-side workers get 12 weeks.74

Staffers at work at Netflix’s headquarters in Los Gatos, Calif., in 2016. The company’s decision to allow new mothers and fathers to take up to 12 months’ leave with full pay during the first year after a child’s birth or adoption applies only to salaried employees who work in the entertainment company’s digital operations.

(Glenn Chapman/AFP/Getty Images)

More criticism followed over the two-track policy.75 “I hate to see a pattern where some workers have access to important benefits and others don’t,” Katie Bethell, a member of the Working Families Party, who helped collect 100,000 signatures on petitions her group delivered to Netflix headquarters. “Tech companies aren’t considering this as a fundamental thing for the health of their employees, they’re looking at [paid leave] as a way to attract employees.”76

But a Netflix spokeswoman defended the company’s decision: “Across Netflix, we compare salary and benefits to those of employees at businesses performing similar work,” Anne Marie Squeo wrote in an email. “Those comparisons show we provide all of our employees with comparable or better pay and benefits than at other companies.”77

Mattos says that practice is business as usual among companies with a workforce divided between highly prized, highly skilled workers and those whose jobs require little training and are easier to fill.

At Walmart, the largest U.S. private employer, only salaried employees are eligible for parental leave: 90 days for new mothers and 14 days for dads. More than 40 percent of its workers are paid hourly and do not qualify for the benefit.78

In fact, approximately 40 million American employees do not have access to paid sick days; just 20 percent of low-wage workers have that benefit, according to the White House Council of Economic Advisers.79 The Labor Department has estimated that about four out of 10 workers do not have access to paid leave of any type.80

Like Netflix, however, some others are beginning to level the playing field, although Virgin has stuck to its limited benefit. The National Partnership for Women & Families counted 89 companies that expanded their paid family leave policies between 2015 and 2017 to make them at least somewhat more inclusive.81 Late last year, for example, Hilton Hotels and Resorts began offering 10 weeks of paid parental leave to all of its 40,000 U.S. employees, from C-suite executives to housekeepers and waiters.82

Matt Schulyer, chief human resources officer for Hilton Worldwide, said Millennials, who make up half of the hospitality chain’s workforce, spurred the decision, which was about “being able to attract and retain the workforce of today and the workforce of tomorrow.”83

Looking Ahead

Maybe Next Year

Advocates of paid leave remain dubious about the chances that the United States will enact a law to pay employees for time off from work—at least not soon.

They predict that at large companies—and not just those in technology fields—the benefits divide between the haves and have-nots will keep expanding unless Congress acts by passing a universal, national law that provides pay to all working parents with new children; to employees who are caregivers to sick children and elderly parents; and to anyone who has to miss work, even for a day, because of a personal illness.

And the advocates don’t anticipate that is about to happen. Even though Trump’s interest in paid leave has amplified the national conversation about the lack of such a law, the chance that Congress will adopt one is slim as long as Republicans and Democrats disagree about which employees to cover and how to pay for it.

That’s the conclusion of Williams, the Center for Worklife Law attorney, who says the lack of a federal law is what has driven the decision by Netflix and others who deem employees with hard-to-recruit skills more worthy of paid leave benefits than those in unskilled, hourly positions.

“This is the drawback of handling parental leave at an enterprise [business] level, which, by the way, no other industrialized economy does,” she told NPR. “If you handle parental leave at the enterprise level, the incentives for the enterprise are to give a rich benefits package to highly valued, high human-capital workers and not give it to hourly workers.… That’s just a structural reality.”84

In an interview with SBR, Williams suggested that Congress adopt an imperfect bill, just to get one on the books. “It’s going to be so difficult to pass anything that they should package it anyway they can pass it,” she says.

Mathur of the American Enterprise Institute agrees: Lawmakers, she says, “are serious about having a policy … at least a minimum policy.”

But even paid leave advocates don’t agree what that policy should look like. Attorney Fink of the National Partnership for Women & Families says Trump’s idea for a mothers-only benefit “isn’t a sufficient proposal.… It’s progress that there’s a recognition that there’s a public policy problem,” she says, but “it would be harmful to pass a bill that only provides paid leave to mothers.… It could lead to sex discrimination in hiring, and in promotions.”

That split could perpetuate the status quo, the advocates say. “There’s no simple answer,” Zagorsky, the Ohio State University researcher, says.

About the Author

Sharon O’Malley, an instructor at the Philip Merrill College of Journalism at the University of Maryland, is a freelance writer, editor, consultant and trainer who has published articles in dozens of newspapers and magazines, including USA Today, Ladies’ Home Journal, Working Woman and American Demographics. For SAGE Business Researcher, she has written several reports, including Shopping Malls, Internships, Product Recalls and the Business of Christmas.

Chronology

 
1877–1928Europe adopts world’s first maternity leave laws.
1877Switzerland becomes the first country to adopt an unpaid maternity leave law; a year later, Germany becomes the second European nation to do so.
1883Germany and Austria-Hungary adopt paid maternity leaves of three weeks after delivery for insured women.
1960s–1970sTemporary disability insurance laws pave way for maternity leave.
1960sCalifornia, Hawaii, New Jersey, New York and Rhode Island enact temporary disability insurance laws to protect employees from income loss in the case of a short-term medical disability. New mothers eventually are covered under these laws.
1978The Pregnancy Discrimination Act requires companies that offer temporary disability programs to cover pregnancy. The act also prevented employers for firing women solely on the basis of pregnancy.
1980s–1990sUnpaid family leave becomes law.
1984Congressional Democrats introduce the Family and Medical Leave Act, which would allow employees to take up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave from work after the birth of a child or to care for a seriously ill family member. The bill is reintroduced every year until 1993, when it becomes law.
1987A California court rules that most employers have to allow pregnant women four months of unpaid disability leave and guarantee them their jobs when they return to work.
2000–2009First paid family leave and sick-days laws take effect.
2002California becomes the first state to create a paid family leave program to provide income replacement to new mothers and to employees with caregiving duties for seriously ill family members.
2006The city of San Francisco becomes the first U.S. jurisdiction to enact a paid sick-day law.
2007Washington state’s governor signs a paid family leave law; however, the law never takes effect because of a lack of funding.
2008New Jersey enacts the country’s second state paid family leave law.… Washington becomes the second U.S. city to adopt a paid sick-day law.
2010–2017Cities and local jurisdictions pass paid sick-day laws.
2011Seattle enacts a paid sick-day law.
2012Connecticut becomes the first state to require employers to offer paid sick days. The law covers only nonexempt, hourly workers in service-sector firms of more than 50 employees.
2013The Rhode Island Legislature passes the country’s third state paid family leave law.… New York City enacts a paid sick-day law and expands it in 2014.… Eight municipal governments in New Jersey pass sick-day laws.
2014California expands the definition of “family member” in its paid family leave program to include seriously ill siblings, grandparents, grandchildren and parents-in-law. The original program covered only parents, children, spouses and registered domestic partners.
2015The U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division amends the definition of “spouse” in the 1993 Family and Medical Leave Act to include eligible employees in legal, same-sex marriages.
2016New York passes a statewide paid family leave law, the fourth such law in America.… Presidential candidates Hillary Clinton, a Democrat, and Donald Trump, a Republican, publicly support paid family leave.… Paid sick-day statutes pass in nine jurisdictions, from Spokane, Wash., to Elizabeth, N.J.
2017The District of Columbia enacts a paid family leave law, which will take effect in July 2020.
  

Resources for Further Study

Bibliography

Books

Boushey, Heather, “Finding Time: The Economics of Work-Life Conflict,” Harvard University Press, 2016. The executive director of the Washington Center for Equitable Growth, a research and grant-making organization, says a changing economy—one in which women work instead of stay home full time to raise their children—requires employers to provide the resources working mothers need to care for family members.

Gordon, Victoria . “Maternity Leave: Policy and Practice,” CRC Press, 2013. An associate political science professor at Western Kentucky University, who has interviewed women who took maternity leave, says there is a disconnect between policy and practice.

Sholar, Megan, “Getting Paid While Taking Time: The Women’s Movement and the Development of Paid Family Leave Policies in the United States,” Temple University Press, 2016. A Loyola University Chicago instructor explains the development of family leave policies in the United States, and notes that most innovations in family policies have originated at the state level.

Articles

Berman, Russell, “A Conservative Push for Paid Family Leave,” The Atlantic, Aug. 15, 2016, http://tinyurl.com/kc2x6bc. A journalist examines the efforts of Republican politicians, including President Trump, and conservative groups to encourage Congress to pass legislation providing for paid family leave.

Bernard, Tara Siegel, “In Paid Family Leave, U.S. Trails Most of the Globe,” The New York Times, Feb. 22, 2013, http://tinyurl.com/krbsulm. The writer explores why the United States is the only industrialized country without a mandatory paid leave law.

Miller, Claire Cain, “Americans Agree on Paid Leave, but Not on Who Should Pay,” The New York Times, March 23, 2017, http://tinyurl.com/mm33z7k. A journalist questions why the nation has not enacted a mandatory paid leave policy when a majority of citizens on both sides of the political spectrum support it.

Murphy, Robert P., “‘Paid Family Leave’ Is a Great Way to Hurt Women,” Foundation for Economic Education, June 2, 2015, http://tinyurl.com/kqzhyqj. A Texas Tech University professor argues that paid family-leave policies should be voluntary, not mandatory. Businesses, he said, know better than the government how to structure their employee benefits for recruitment and retention purposes, he writes.

Rogers, Megan, “Why New York businesses oppose paid family leave proposal,” Albany Business Review, March 25, 2015, http://tinyurl.com/lnaddno. A journalist summarizes interviews with business leaders who believe small businesses cannot afford overtime costs associated with mandatory paid family leave.

Warner, Judith, and Danielle Corley, “In the Absence of U.S. Action on Paid Leave, Multinationals Make Their Own Policies,” Center for American Progress, Nov. 17, 2016, http://tinyurl.com/jwc26tr. Researchers at a liberal Washington think tank examine a trend among multinational companies to create policies for paid time off that apply to their employees, no matter where in the world they work.

Reports and Studies

“Americans Widely Support Paid Family and Medical Leave, but Differ Over Specific Policies,” Pew Research Center, March 23, 2017, http://tinyurl.com/m7v6tfy. A nonpartisan “fact tank” finds that most Americans support paid leave but believe that employers, and not the federal or state governments, should pay for it.

“The Economics of Paid and Unpaid Leave,” Council of Economic Advisers, June 2014, http://tinyurl.com/mruj93h. The White House agency dealing with economic policy concludes that businesses would benefit from offering paid family leave to more workers because employees would be more productive on the job and retention of talented workers would increase.

“Employer Costs for Employee Compensation—December 2016,” Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, March 17, 2017, http://tinyurl.com/m3y5osc. In 23 pages of charts, the federal agency reveals the costs of compensation and benefits for employees of private- and public-sector employees. Paid leave, the report notes, accounted for 6.9 percent of private industry compensation.

“Paid Time Off Programs and Practices,” WorldatWork, September 2016, http://tinyurl.com/zu8en2c. In a survey of its members, the human resources trade association discovered that 88 percent believe offering some type of paid time-off program is necessary for an organization to be competitive in the labor market.

“Why Paid Family Leave Is Good Business,” Boston Consulting Group, Feb. 7, 2017, http://tinyurl.com/krss4gk. The management consulting firm reviewed the policies of more than 250 companies and interviewed 25 human resource executives at large organizations. The report’s conclusion: Employers espouse a strong business case for paid family leave, which they say helps attract and retain qualified employees.

Gitis, Ben, “The Earned Income Leave Benefit: Rethinking Family Leave for Low-Income Workers,” American Action Forum, Aug. 15, 2016, http://tinyurl.com/ly5dbue. The director of labor market policy for a conservative research group breaks with Republican tradition and proposes a paid-leave benefit for workers with annual incomes lower than $28,000.

Ray, Rebecca, Milla Sanes and John Schmitt, “No-Vacation Nation Revisited,” Center for Economic and Policy Institute, May 2013, http://tinyurl.com/mcasupx. This report reviews laws in 21 “rich” countries that require paid vacations and holidays.

Zagorsky, Jay L., “Divergent Trends in US Maternity and Paternity Leave, 1994-2015,” American Journal of Public Health, March 2017, http://tinyurl.com/l29spvb. An economist and research scientist at Ohio State University’s Center for Human Resource Research discovers that the number of women who take maternity leave has not grown in 22 years.

The Next Step

Company Policies

Bort, Julie, “Sheryl Sandberg on tragically losing her husband: ‘I’m a different person now,’” Business Insider, April 24, 2017, https://tinyurl.com/mldxk9a. Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg, whose husband died unexpectedly two years ago, announced in February that Facebook employees will receive up to 20 days paid annual leave to mourn an immediate family member’s death, and 10 days to mourn for an extended family member.

Kharpal, Arjun, “Tech firms are giving staff paid leave for political engagements amid fear of immigration crackdown,” CNBC, April 18, 2017, https://tinyurl.com/kj36kfs. A technology startup company, reacting in part to President Trump’s anti-immigration rhetoric, adopted a policy on April 18 that gives employees paid leave for political engagements, including protests.

Lewis, Cora, “Women Ironworkers Will Get Six Months Of Paid Maternity Leave,” BuzzFeed News, April 17, 2017, https://tinyurl.com/k3kbs2b. Following the lead of tech companies such as Adobe, Netflix and Spotify, the male-dominated ironworkers union now offers female employees up to six months maternity leave.

International Standards

Bruner, Raisa, “Chinese Workers at Factory for Ivanka Trump’s Clothing Maker Earn About $62 a Week: Report,” Time, April 25, 2017, https://tinyurl.com/mheo5uf. The Fair Labor Association watchdog group found that Chinese factory workers who make clothing for Ivanka Trump’s brand worked excessive hours for below minimum wage last year and received only five paid leave days per year.

Millington, Alison, “Italy could soon offer women three days of paid menstrual leave each month,” Business Insider, March 29, 2017, https://tinyurl.com/kq3wgr3. The lower house of Italy’s parliament is considering a proposal that would allow women to take three paid leave days each month for any “painful periods” they experience.

Singhi, Namrata, “Microsoft India employees to get family caregiver leave,” The Times of India, April 24, 2017, https://tinyurl.com/n3dfr68. Microsoft India announced that employees who need to care for an immediate family member with a serious health condition will receive four weeks annual paid leave; workers who adopt a child or have a child via surrogacy will receive 26 calendar weeks of paid leave; and paternity leave will increase to six weeks.

Lawsuits

Blau, Reuven, “JetBlue hit with suit for violating New York paid sick leave law,” New York Daily News, April 1, 2017, https://tinyurl.com/lxtbtot. New York City’s Consumer Affairs Department accuses JetBlue in a lawsuit of using progressive punishments – including possible termination – to discipline employees who called in sick.

Hopkins, Kathleen, “Ocean County judge sues, claims discrimination,” Asbury Park Press, April 25, 2017, https://tinyurl.com/kfkep2v. A New Jersey Superior Court judge sued his two bosses, saying they tried to force him to resign because he has a 19-year-old son with multiple disabilities.

Salazar, Martin, “Lawsuit targets proposed sick leave ordinance,” Albuquerque Journal, April 3, 2017, https://tinyurl.com/k8s6ggy. Businesses and trade associations in Albuquerque, N.M., sued city officials, arguing a proposed sick leave ordinance is unconstitutional and would hurt businesses and the city’s economy.

State Legislation

Booker, Christopher, and Connie Kargbo, “Can Rhode Island’s paid family leave be a national model?” PBS NewsHour, April 16, 2017, https://tinyurl.com/l2nqme3. Rhode Island taxes private-sector employees to finance a program that provides paid leave for part-time and full-time workers, a policy that smaller companies say may hurt productivity.

Dawson, James, “State lawmakers considering family leave bills,” Delaware Public Media, April 23, 2017, http://tinyurl.com/m2f8mo2. Delaware lawmakers are studying proposals that would give three months of paid leave to state employees who have worked full time for at least a year, and an additional six weeks of unpaid leave to mothers who are expecting twins and require hospitalization during pregnancy.

Sagarin, Susan, “D.C. Enacts Paid Family Leave But Lacks Funding For Implementation,” Bloomberg BNA, April 17, 2017, http://tinyurl.com/ldekpgz. The District of Columbia’s Universal Paid Leave Act, which entitles employees to 90 percent of their salary while on leave, won approval from a congressional review board in April, but the city may not be able to afford it.

Organizations

The American Action Forum
1747 Pennsylvania Ave., N.W., 5th Floor, Washington, DC 20006
1-202-559-6420
www.americanactionforum.org/
A self-described center-right nonprofit that focuses on domestic policy challenges such as paid leave, health care and tax reform.

Center for American Progress
1333 H St., N.W., Washington, DC 20005
1-202-682-1611
www.americanprogress.org/
An independent, nonpartisan policy institute dedicated to developing new policy ideas in areas such as criminal justice, disability, the economy, education and women.

Center for Economic and Policy Research
1611 Connecticut Ave., N.W., Suite 400, Washington, DC 20009
http://cepr.net/
1-202-293-5380
An organization of economists who promote democratic debate on economic and social issues through professional research and public education.

Center for WorkLife Law
200 McAllister St., San Francisco, CA 94102
1-415-565-4640
http://worklifelaw.org/
Women’s leadership organization at the University of California’s Hastings College of Law that focuses on jumpstarting “the stalled gender revolution.”

Families & Work Institute
245 5th Ave., #1002, New York, NY 10016
1-212-465-2044
A nonpartisan research organization that studies the changing workforce and workplace, as well as the changing family.

National Partnership for Women and Families
1875 Connecticut Ave., N.W., Suite 650, Washington, DC 20009
1-202-986-2600
www.nationalpartnership.org/
Formerly known as the Women’s Legal Defense Fund, this nonpartisan organization promotes fairness in the workplace, reproductive health and rights, access to affordable health care and work-family policies for working parents.

Pew Research Center
1615 L St., N.W., Suite 800, Washington, DC 20036
1-202-419-4300
www.pewresearch.org/
A nonpartisan “fact tank” that conducts public opinion polls and demographic research, and informs the public about issues involving politics, media, technology, religion, global attitudes and demographic trends.

PL+US (Paid Leave For the United States)
2973 16th St., San Francisco, CA 94110
1-415-799-9789
http://paidleave.us/#issue
A new advocacy organization whose mission is to win paid family leave by engaging Americans at the grass-roots level.

Work and Family Researchers Network
c/o the Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania, 3620 Locust Walk, Philadelphia, PA 19104-6302
1-215-898-5605
https://workfamily.sas.upenn.edu/
A membership association of interdisciplinary work and family scholars that oversees an open-access work and family subject matter repository.

WorldatWork
14040 N. Northsight Blvd., Scottsdale, AZ 85260
1-877-951-9191
www.worldatwork.org
A membership organization for human resources professionals that bills itself as “the total rewards association.” Its focus is compensation, benefits and work/life effectiveness.

Notes

[1] Sheryl Sandberg, Facebook post, Feb. 7, 2017, http://tinyurl.com/mntk8z7.

Footnote:
1. Sheryl Sandberg, Facebook post, Feb. 7, 2017, http://tinyurl.com/mntk8z7.

[2] Ibid.

Footnote:
2. Ibid.

[3] “DOL Factsheet: Paid Family and Medical Leave,” U.S. Department of Labor, June 2015, http://tinyurl.com/md5vm7r.

Footnote:
3. “DOL Factsheet: Paid Family and Medical Leave,” U.S. Department of Labor, June 2015, http://tinyurl.com/md5vm7r.

[4] ”Forging Ahead or Falling Behind: Paid Family Leave at America’s Top Companies,” PL+US, Nov. 16, 2016, http://tinyurl.com/mkvcbbk.

Footnote:
4. ”Forging Ahead or Falling Behind: Paid Family Leave at America’s Top Companies,” PL+US, Nov. 16, 2016, http://tinyurl.com/mkvcbbk.

[5] Danielle Paquette, “When workers don’t get paid sick days, everyone else is more likely to get sick,” Chicago Tribune, Aug. 26, 2016, http://tinyurl.com/kaf2fu3.

Footnote:
5. Danielle Paquette, “When workers don’t get paid sick days, everyone else is more likely to get sick,” Chicago Tribune, Aug. 26, 2016, http://tinyurl.com/kaf2fu3.

[6] Alicia Adamczyk, “These Are the Companies With the Best Parental Leave Policies,” Money, Nov. 4, 2015, http://tinyurl.com/jbf8v27.

Footnote:
6. Alicia Adamczyk, “These Are the Companies With the Best Parental Leave Policies,” Money, Nov. 4, 2015, http://tinyurl.com/jbf8v27.

[7] Ibid.; “Join Our Team,” Squarespace, undated, http://tinyurl.com/mc5qg86.

Footnote:
7. Ibid.; “Join Our Team,” Squarespace, undated, http://tinyurl.com/mc5qg86.

[8] Jena McGregor, “An ‘unlimited parental leave policy sounds great, but will it work?” Los Angeles Times, Aug. 16, 2015, http://tinyurl.com/m5nnz7t.

Footnote:
8. Jena McGregor, “An ‘unlimited parental leave policy sounds great, but will it work?” Los Angeles Times, Aug. 16, 2015, http://tinyurl.com/m5nnz7t.

[9] “Key characteristics of parental leave systems,” OECD Family Database, Directorate of Employment, Labour and Social Affairs, March 15, 2017, http://tinyurl.com/mclgdbw.

Footnote:
9. “Key characteristics of parental leave systems,” OECD Family Database, Directorate of Employment, Labour and Social Affairs, March 15, 2017, http://tinyurl.com/mclgdbw.

[10] John Dodge, “The War for Tech Talent Escalates,” Boston Globe, Feb. 19, 2016, http://tinyurl.com/zog2col.

Footnote:
10. John Dodge, “The War for Tech Talent Escalates,” Boston Globe, Feb. 19, 2016, http://tinyurl.com/zog2col.

[11] “83% of Millennials—Now Largest Group of New Parents—Would Leave Their Job for One With Better Family/Lifestyle Benefits,” Care.com, Aug. 10, 2015, http://tinyurl.com/ljep5xb.

Footnote:
11. “83% of Millennials—Now Largest Group of New Parents—Would Leave Their Job for One With Better Family/Lifestyle Benefits,” Care.com, Aug. 10, 2015, http://tinyurl.com/ljep5xb.

[12] “Global generations: A global study on work-life challenges across generations,” Ernst & Young, 2015, http://tinyurl.com/mm8uc5s.

Footnote:
12. “Global generations: A global study on work-life challenges across generations,” Ernst & Young, 2015, http://tinyurl.com/mm8uc5s.

[13] Brigit Katz, “Trump administration may amend maternity leave plan to include men,” The New York Times, Feb. 7, 2017, http://tinyurl.com/l6avedx.

Footnote:
13. Brigit Katz, “Trump administration may amend maternity leave plan to include men,” The New York Times, Feb. 7, 2017, http://tinyurl.com/l6avedx.

[14] Frank Newport, “Trump Family Leave, Infrastructure Proposals Widely Popular,” Gallup, April 7, 2017, http://tinyurl.com/k47mxwa.

Footnote:
14. Frank Newport, “Trump Family Leave, Infrastructure Proposals Widely Popular,” Gallup, April 7, 2017, http://tinyurl.com/k47mxwa.

[15] Frank Kerbein, “Legislative Memo,” Business Council, Feb. 4, 2016, http://tinyurl.com/l2xjop4.

Footnote:
15. Frank Kerbein, “Legislative Memo,” Business Council, Feb. 4, 2016, http://tinyurl.com/l2xjop4.

[16] “Health Policy Brief: Paid Family and Medical Leave,” Health Affairs, Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, Nov. 21, 2016, http://tinyurl.com/n6gb9ff.

Footnote:
16. “Health Policy Brief: Paid Family and Medical Leave,” Health Affairs, Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, Nov. 21, 2016, http://tinyurl.com/n6gb9ff.

[17] “The Economic Benefits of Paid Leave: Fact Sheet,” Joint Economic Committee, U.S. Congress, Jan. 20, 2015, http://tinyurl.com/nylay7w.

Footnote:
17. “The Economic Benefits of Paid Leave: Fact Sheet,” Joint Economic Committee, U.S. Congress, Jan. 20, 2015, http://tinyurl.com/nylay7w.

[18] Susan Wojcicki, “Paid Maternity Leave is Good for Business,” The Wall Street Journal, Dec. 16, 2014, http://tinyurl.com/k3tdubl.

Footnote:
18. Susan Wojcicki, “Paid Maternity Leave is Good for Business,” The Wall Street Journal, Dec. 16, 2014, http://tinyurl.com/k3tdubl.

[19] Susan Wojcicki, “Closing the Tech Industry Gender Gap,” The Huffington Post, Jan. 27, 2017, http://tinyurl.com/m8jq3tk.

Footnote:
19. Susan Wojcicki, “Closing the Tech Industry Gender Gap,” The Huffington Post, Jan. 27, 2017, http://tinyurl.com/m8jq3tk.

[20] Celeste Smith, “Duke Energy to provide paid parental leave,” The Charlotte Observer, Jan. 26, 2017, http://tinyurl.com/kam3wua.

Footnote:
20. Celeste Smith, “Duke Energy to provide paid parental leave,” The Charlotte Observer, Jan. 26, 2017, http://tinyurl.com/kam3wua.

[21] Kristen Bellstrom, “EY Comes Out Swinging at Other Consulting Firms With New Parental Leave Policy,” Fortune, April 13, 2016, http://tinyurl.com/zrn6v3h.

Footnote:
21. Kristen Bellstrom, “EY Comes Out Swinging at Other Consulting Firms With New Parental Leave Policy,” Fortune, April 13, 2016, http://tinyurl.com/zrn6v3h.

[22] “Deloitte announces 16 weeks of fully paid family leave time for caregiving,” Deloitte, Sept. 8, 2016, http://tinyurl.com/zvway5m.

Footnote:
22. “Deloitte announces 16 weeks of fully paid family leave time for caregiving,” Deloitte, Sept. 8, 2016, http://tinyurl.com/zvway5m.

[23] Juliana Menasce Horowitz et al., “Americans Widely Support Paid Family and Medical Leave, but Differ Over Specific Policies,” Pew Research Center, March 23, 2017, http://tinyurl.com/m7v6tfy.

Footnote:
23. Juliana Menasce Horowitz et al., “Americans Widely Support Paid Family and Medical Leave, but Differ Over Specific Policies,” Pew Research Center, March 23, 2017, http://tinyurl.com/m7v6tfy.

[24] “Paid Family and Medical Leave: Good for Business,” National Partnership for Women & Families, March 2015, http://tinyurl.com/qzhnmxw.

Footnote:
24. “Paid Family and Medical Leave: Good for Business,” National Partnership for Women & Families, March 2015, http://tinyurl.com/qzhnmxw.

[25] “The Economic Benefits of Paid Leave: Fact Sheet,” op. cit.

Footnote:
25. “The Economic Benefits of Paid Leave: Fact Sheet,” op. cit.

[26] “Disability Insurance (DI) and Paid Family Leave (PFL) Weekly Benefit Amounts in Dollar Increments,” California Employment Development Department, Jan. 1, 2017, http://tinyurl.com/ktkch8l.

Footnote:
26. “Disability Insurance (DI) and Paid Family Leave (PFL) Weekly Benefit Amounts in Dollar Increments,” California Employment Development Department, Jan. 1, 2017, http://tinyurl.com/ktkch8l.

[27] Ibid.

Footnote:
27. Ibid.

[28] “DOL Factsheet: Paid Family and Medical Leave,” op. cit.

Footnote:
28. “DOL Factsheet: Paid Family and Medical Leave,” op. cit.

[29] Alexia Fernández Campbell, “D.C.’s Battle for Paid Family Leave,” The Atlantic, Dec. 19, 2016, http://tinyurl.com/mow4kpx.

Footnote:
29. Alexia Fernández Campbell, “D.C.’s Battle for Paid Family Leave,” The Atlantic, Dec. 19, 2016, http://tinyurl.com/mow4kpx.

[30] Sean Sullivan and Robert Costa, “Donald Trump unveils child-care policy influenced by Ivanka Trump,” The Washington Post, Sept. 13, 2016, http://tinyurl.com/l8qlmgd; “Inside the candidates’ plans for paid leave and child care,” PBS NewsHour, Sept. 14, 2016, http://tinyurl.com/znprv78.

Footnote:
30. Sean Sullivan and Robert Costa, “Donald Trump unveils child-care policy influenced by Ivanka Trump,” The Washington Post, Sept. 13, 2016, http://tinyurl.com/l8qlmgd; “Inside the candidates’ plans for paid leave and child care,” PBS NewsHour, Sept. 14, 2016, http://tinyurl.com/znprv78.

[31] Russell Berman, “A Conservative Push for Paid Family Leave,” The Atlantic, Aug. 15, 2016, http://tinyurl.com/kc2x6bc.

Footnote:
31. Russell Berman, “A Conservative Push for Paid Family Leave,” The Atlantic, Aug. 15, 2016, http://tinyurl.com/kc2x6bc.

[32] Bourree Lam, “There’s Superficial Agreement in Congress on Paid Family Leave,” The Atlantic, Feb. 11, 2017, http://tinyurl.com/lfdk3bc.

Footnote:
32. Bourree Lam, “There’s Superficial Agreement in Congress on Paid Family Leave,” The Atlantic, Feb. 11, 2017, http://tinyurl.com/lfdk3bc.

[33] Tim Wallace and Alicia Parlapiano, “Crowd Scientists Say Women’s March in Washington Had 3 Times as Many People as Trump’s Inauguration,” The New York Times, Jan. 22, 2017, http://tinyurl.com/h9ggezt.

Footnote:
33. Tim Wallace and Alicia Parlapiano, “Crowd Scientists Say Women’s March in Washington Had 3 Times as Many People as Trump’s Inauguration,” The New York Times, Jan. 22, 2017, http://tinyurl.com/h9ggezt.

[34] Heather Long, “Wait, did Trump endorse paid FAMILY leave?” CNN Money, March 6, 2017, http://tinyurl.com/ld7pcc5.

Footnote:
34. Heather Long, “Wait, did Trump endorse paid FAMILY leave?” CNN Money, March 6, 2017, http://tinyurl.com/ld7pcc5.

[35] Ibid.

Footnote:
35. Ibid.

[36] David Weigel, “Democrats get ahead of Trump with family leave plan,” The Washington Post, March 14, 2017, http://tinyurl.com/n2m5xfs.

Footnote:
36. David Weigel, “Democrats get ahead of Trump with family leave plan,” The Washington Post, March 14, 2017, http://tinyurl.com/n2m5xfs.

[37] Jane Farrell and Sarah Jane Glynn, “The FAMILY Act: Facts and Frequently Asked Questions,” Center for American Progress, Dec. 12, 2013, http://tinyurl.com/mgofkvv.

Footnote:
37. Jane Farrell and Sarah Jane Glynn, “The FAMILY Act: Facts and Frequently Asked Questions,” Center for American Progress, Dec. 12, 2013, http://tinyurl.com/mgofkvv.

[38] Claire Zillman, “Kirsten Gillibrand Is Giving Her Paid Family Leave Proposal Its First Trump-Era Test,” Fortune, Feb. 7, 2017, http://tinyurl.com/z7xrxfk.

Footnote:
38. Claire Zillman, “Kirsten Gillibrand Is Giving Her Paid Family Leave Proposal Its First Trump-Era Test,” Fortune, Feb. 7, 2017, http://tinyurl.com/z7xrxfk.

[39] “Economic Effects of the Family and Medical Leave Insurance Act,” Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania, Sept. 1, 2015, http://tinyurl.com/klbqezh.

Footnote:
39. “Economic Effects of the Family and Medical Leave Insurance Act,” Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania, Sept. 1, 2015, http://tinyurl.com/klbqezh.

[40] Neyla Zannia, “SIA refutes claims that employees are penalized for taking sick leave,” The Online Citizen, Feb. 9, 2017, http://tinyurl.com/m4gd6v3.

Footnote:
40. Neyla Zannia, “SIA refutes claims that employees are penalized for taking sick leave,” The Online Citizen, Feb. 9, 2017, http://tinyurl.com/m4gd6v3.

[41] “Work-Life Imbalance: Expedia’s 2016 Vacation Deprivation Study Shows Americans Leave Hundreds of Millions of Paid Vacation Days Unused,” Expedia, Nov. 15, 2016, http://tinyurl.com/l38zw76.

Footnote:
41. “Work-Life Imbalance: Expedia’s 2016 Vacation Deprivation Study Shows Americans Leave Hundreds of Millions of Paid Vacation Days Unused,” Expedia, Nov. 15, 2016, http://tinyurl.com/l38zw76.

[42] Ibid.

Footnote:
42. Ibid.

[43] Ibid.

Footnote:
43. Ibid.

[44] “The State of American Vacation: How Vacation Became a Casualty of Our Work Culture,” Project: Time Off, 2016, http://tinyurl.com/kqf5tze.

Footnote:
44. “The State of American Vacation: How Vacation Became a Casualty of Our Work Culture,” Project: Time Off, 2016, http://tinyurl.com/kqf5tze.

[45] Jay L. Zagorsky, “Divergent Trends in US Maternity and Paternity Leave, 1994-2015,” American Journal of Public Health, March 2017, http://tinyurl.com/l29spvb.

Footnote:
45. Jay L. Zagorsky, “Divergent Trends in US Maternity and Paternity Leave, 1994-2015,” American Journal of Public Health, March 2017, http://tinyurl.com/l29spvb.

[46] “What Is Paid Family Leave,” Paid Family Leave California, undated, http://tinyurl.com/kkbjecv.

Footnote:
46. “What Is Paid Family Leave,” Paid Family Leave California, undated, http://tinyurl.com/kkbjecv.

[47] Zagorsky, op. cit.

Footnote:
47. Zagorsky, op. cit.

[48] “TED: The Economics Daily,” Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Nov. 4, 2016, http://tinyurl.com/l8kqcbt.

Footnote:
48. “TED: The Economics Daily,” Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Nov. 4, 2016, http://tinyurl.com/l8kqcbt.

[49] “Access to and Use of Leave—2011 Data from the American Time Use Survey Summary,” Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Aug. 15, 2012, http://tinyurl.com/mwbxgpl.

Footnote:
49. “Access to and Use of Leave—2011 Data from the American Time Use Survey Summary,” Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Aug. 15, 2012, http://tinyurl.com/mwbxgpl.

[50] Zagorsky, op. cit.

Footnote:
50. Zagorsky, op. cit.

[51] Ibid.

Footnote:
51. Ibid.

[52] David I. Kertzer and Marzio Barbagli, eds., “Family Life in the Long Nineteenth Century, 1789-1913,” Yale University Press, 2002, p. 149.

Footnote:
52. David I. Kertzer and Marzio Barbagli, eds., “Family Life in the Long Nineteenth Century, 1789-1913,” Yale University Press, 2002, p. 149.

[53] Ibid.

Footnote:
53. Ibid.

[54] Ibid.

Footnote:
54. Ibid.

[55] Jessica Deahl, “Countries Around the World Beat The U.S. On Paid Parental Leave,” NPR, Oct. 6, 2016, http://tinyurl.com/ztdxu4p.

Footnote:
55. Jessica Deahl, “Countries Around the World Beat The U.S. On Paid Parental Leave,” NPR, Oct. 6, 2016, http://tinyurl.com/ztdxu4p.

[56] “History of the FMLA,” National Partnership for Women & Families,” undated, http://tinyurl.com/lgf4srg.

Footnote:
56. “History of the FMLA,” National Partnership for Women & Families,” undated, http://tinyurl.com/lgf4srg.

[57] “Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) of 1993,” Society for Human Resource Management, http://tinyurl.com/m35xrdp.

Footnote:
57. “Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) of 1993,” Society for Human Resource Management, http://tinyurl.com/m35xrdp.

[58] “Employee Benefits in the United States—March 2016,” Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, July 22, 2016, http://tinyurl.com/l9sdon9.

Footnote:
58. “Employee Benefits in the United States—March 2016,” Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, July 22, 2016, http://tinyurl.com/l9sdon9.

[59] “Family and Medical Leave Act,” Wage and Hour Division, U.S. Department of Labor, undated, http://tinyurl.com/mu524ez.

Footnote:
59. “Family and Medical Leave Act,” Wage and Hour Division, U.S. Department of Labor, undated, http://tinyurl.com/mu524ez.

[60] “State Paid Family Leave Insurance Laws,” National Partnership for Women & Families, February 2017, http://tinyurl.com/l7crnbf.

Footnote:
60. “State Paid Family Leave Insurance Laws,” National Partnership for Women & Families, February 2017, http://tinyurl.com/l7crnbf.

[61] “New and Expanded Employer Paid Family and Medical Leave Policies (2015-2017),” National Partnership for Women & Families, 2017, http://tinyurl.com/jnljruc.

Footnote:
61. “New and Expanded Employer Paid Family and Medical Leave Policies (2015-2017),” National Partnership for Women & Families, 2017, http://tinyurl.com/jnljruc.

[62] Christine Sloane, “Maryland Senate Makes History,” National Paid Sick Days Coalition, undated, http://tinyurl.com/l5bfjk4.

Footnote:
62. Christine Sloane, “Maryland Senate Makes History,” National Paid Sick Days Coalition, undated, http://tinyurl.com/l5bfjk4.

[63] Carrie H. Colla et al., “Early Effects of the San Francisco Paid Sick Leave Policy,” American Journal of Public Health, December 2014, http://tinyurl.com/lp4x2rg.

Footnote:
63. Carrie H. Colla et al., “Early Effects of the San Francisco Paid Sick Leave Policy,” American Journal of Public Health, December 2014, http://tinyurl.com/lp4x2rg.

[64] Ibid.

Footnote:
64. Ibid.

[65] “Current Paid Sick Days Laws,” National Partnership for Women & Families, Nov. 9, 2016, http://tinyurl.com/mt424nb.

Footnote:
65. “Current Paid Sick Days Laws,” National Partnership for Women & Families, Nov. 9, 2016, http://tinyurl.com/mt424nb.

[66] “A history of paid sick leave legislation,” TimeForce, undated, http://tinyurl.com/m8eyx4e.

Footnote:
66. “A history of paid sick leave legislation,” TimeForce, undated, http://tinyurl.com/m8eyx4e.

[67] “Current Paid Sick Days Laws,” op. cit.

Footnote:
67. “Current Paid Sick Days Laws,” op. cit.

[68] “H.R. 1516—Healthy Families Act,” U.S. Congress, March 13, 2017, http://tinyurl.com/mb9l28m.

Footnote:
68. “H.R. 1516—Healthy Families Act,” U.S. Congress, March 13, 2017, http://tinyurl.com/mb9l28m.

[69] “Paid Time Off Programs and Practices,” WorldatWork, June 2016, http://tinyurl.com/zu8en2c.

Footnote:
69. “Paid Time Off Programs and Practices,” WorldatWork, June 2016, http://tinyurl.com/zu8en2c.

[70] Ibid.

Footnote:
70. Ibid.

[71] Sam Sanders, “Netflix’s New, Generous Parental Leave Policy Leaves Some Employees Out,” NPR, Aug. 6, 2015, http://tinyurl.com/msf5web.

Footnote:
71. Sam Sanders, “Netflix’s New, Generous Parental Leave Policy Leaves Some Employees Out,” NPR, Aug. 6, 2015, http://tinyurl.com/msf5web.

[72] Susan Adams, “Virgin’s New Paternity Leave Policy: It’s Not Quite As Great As The Hype,” Forbes, June 12, 2015, http://tinyurl.com/ko9gbfw.

Footnote:
72. Susan Adams, “Virgin’s New Paternity Leave Policy: It’s Not Quite As Great As The Hype,” Forbes, June 12, 2015, http://tinyurl.com/ko9gbfw.

[73] Shannon Murphy, “Netflix: Extend paid parental leave policy to ALL employees,” Coworker.org, August 2015, http://tinyurl.com/lzsp94m.

Footnote:
73. Shannon Murphy, “Netflix: Extend paid parental leave policy to ALL employees,” Coworker.org, August 2015, http://tinyurl.com/lzsp94m.

[74] Shane Ferro, “Netflix Just Made Another Huge Stride On Parental Leave,” The Huffington Post, Jan. 16, 2017, http://tinyurl.com/mwbrde8.

Footnote:
74. Shane Ferro, “Netflix Just Made Another Huge Stride On Parental Leave,” The Huffington Post, Jan. 16, 2017, http://tinyurl.com/mwbrde8.

[75] Gina Hall, “Activists petition Netflix to include hourly workers in parental leave policy,” Silicon Valley Business Journal, Sept. 2, 2015, http://tinyurl.com/mwfn2yx.

Footnote:
75. Gina Hall, “Activists petition Netflix to include hourly workers in parental leave policy,” Silicon Valley Business Journal, Sept. 2, 2015, http://tinyurl.com/mwfn2yx.

[76] Emily Peck, “Under Fire, Netflix Defends Lopsided Parental Leave Policy,” The Huffington Post, Sept. 2, 2015, http://tinyurl.com/lh9unah.

Footnote:
76. Emily Peck, “Under Fire, Netflix Defends Lopsided Parental Leave Policy,” The Huffington Post, Sept. 2, 2015, http://tinyurl.com/lh9unah.

[77] Ibid.

Footnote:
77. Ibid.

[78] Maggie Mertens, “Tech Companies Offer Great Perks, Just Not For Everyone,” Refinery29, Aug. 10, 2015, http://tinyurl.com/lozhwno.

Footnote:
78. Maggie Mertens, “Tech Companies Offer Great Perks, Just Not For Everyone,” Refinery29, Aug. 10, 2015, http://tinyurl.com/lozhwno.

[79] Anne D’Innocenzio, “Movement grows to require employers to offer paid sick leave for workers,” U.S. News & World Report, May 19, 2015, http://tinyurl.com/ld2m4p8; Christopher Ingraham, “More than a third of American workers don’t get sick leave, and they’re making the rest of us ill,” The Washington Post, Jan. 15, 2015, http://tinyurl.com/lawn84t.

Footnote:
79. Anne D’Innocenzio, “Movement grows to require employers to offer paid sick leave for workers,” U.S. News & World Report, May 19, 2015, http://tinyurl.com/ld2m4p8; Christopher Ingraham, “More than a third of American workers don’t get sick leave, and they’re making the rest of us ill,” The Washington Post, Jan. 15, 2015, http://tinyurl.com/lawn84t.

[80] “The Cost of Doing Nothing,” U.S. Department of Labor, Sept. 4, 2015, http://tinyurl.com/mh68u57.

Footnote:
80. “The Cost of Doing Nothing,” U.S. Department of Labor, Sept. 4, 2015, http://tinyurl.com/mh68u57.

[81] “New and Expanded Paid Family and Medical Leave Policies (2015-2017),” National Partnership for Women & Families, 2017, http://tinyurl.com/jnljruc.

Footnote:
81. “New and Expanded Paid Family and Medical Leave Policies (2015-2017),” National Partnership for Women & Families, 2017, http://tinyurl.com/jnljruc.

[82] Jennifer Ludden, “From Cooks To Accountants: Hilton Extends Paid Parental Leave To All,” NPR, Oct. 11, 2016, http://tinyurl.com/ltdtydl.

Footnote:
82. Jennifer Ludden, “From Cooks To Accountants: Hilton Extends Paid Parental Leave To All,” NPR, Oct. 11, 2016, http://tinyurl.com/ltdtydl.

[83] Ibid.

Footnote:
83. Ibid.

[84] Sanders, op. cit.

Footnote:
84. Sanders, op. cit.

 

DOI: 10.1177/237455680314.n1