Two new fact sheets released today from MassBudget examine what Massachusetts residents do now in the absence of a statewide Paid Family and Medical Leave (PFML) program, and examine what we can learn from other states that have enacted statewide PFML.
When they have a child, need to care for an ill family member, or are ill themselves, Massachusetts workers often can't afford to take extended leave with a total loss of wages. Existing laws can help eligible employees to take shorter-term paid leave or ensure the right to longer-term unpaid leave if they can afford it. But workers have fewer options if they can't afford more than a short duration without their wages.
The first research report, Family and Medical Leave in Massachusetts: A Current Snapshot, authored by economists Randy Albelda from the University of Massachusetts Boston and Alan Clayton-Matthews from Northeastern University, develop a simulation model that estimates how many Massachusetts residents need and take a leave to cope with a serious illness, pregnancy or a new child. The study finds, for instance, that about 12 percent of Massachusetts workers take a medical or family leave annually, but about a quarter of them take a shorter leave than they need and a slightly larger number of workers who need leave do not take it.
Most other industrialized countries and four U.S. states have found another way. California, New Jersey, Rhode Island, and (starting in 2018) New York use insurance-style programs that replace a portion of workers' wages. This enables workers to take time off to address a serious personal or family health condition or to care for a new child. MassBudget's new fact sheet What We Can Learn from Other States' Experiences with Paid Family and Medical Leave examines evidence on the impact of these programs on families and businesses.
Current Statewide Paid Family and Medical Leave Programs
Weeks of Family Leave
Weeks of Own-Health Leave (incl. pregnancy)
Maximum Wage Replacement
8 (rising to 12 by 2021)
50% (rising to 67% by 2021)
You can read MassBudget's short explainers on how workers in Massachusetts currently cope (HERE) and the experience of other states (HERE). See also MassBudget's previous fact sheet sorting out how PFML differs from other related policies (HERE) and our FAQ: Paid Family & Medical Leave (HERE). You can also read the complete recent report by economists Randy Albelda and Alan Clayton-Matthews issued by UMass Boston's Center for Social Policy and Center for Women in Politics and Public Policy (HERE).
The Massachusetts Budget and Policy Center (MassBudget) produces policy research, analysis, and data-driven recommendations focused on improving the lives of low- and middle-income children and adults, strengthening our state's economy, and enhancing the quality of life in Massachusetts.
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