The U.S. Labor Department recently announced it has received $1.25 million in grants to invest in paid leave research. The goal is to try and come up with a strategy to extend paid family and medical leave to more American workers across the nation.
Only 61 percent of workers now have access to paid leave, excluding 43 million from receiving this benefit. Collectively, paid leave would include any paid time for sick days off, maternity leave, and days off to care for family. The benefit will also be extended to males and females, since in the past maternity leave was something only women took for granted.
Two states have recently adopted paid leave. California passed the law in 2014 and Massachusetts passed it by a 60 percent margin during the midterm elections. Across the nation, paid leave has been passed at the local level and mostly in the east coast region. On the west coast, the cities of Portland, Oregon, and Oakland, California, passed the same measure.
For those who already enjoy paid sick and family leave, they have to understand the terms of the benefits. I've heard two different stories of women who believed they were entitled to family leave, only to discover they had not met the requirements to qualify or were not expecting certain limitations. To learn more, visit the Department of Labor site at http://www.dol.gov/ or ask your benefits department for information.