Paid Family Leave Act

Updated on July 09, 2012
☆.A. asks from Beverly Hills, CA
20 answers

Are you aware of this?
I think we're all aware of FMLA leave (unpaid) but this is PAID leave.
It works kind of like unemployment and is based on salary, years of service, etc.
It exists in CA, NJ, WA state and to some degree in DC.
Do you think this is a trend?
Do you think it's helpful to have even reduced paid time off.
Is the US starting to catch up with the rest of the world in this regard? LOL
If you have it, have you used it? Was it helpful?

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So What Happened?

For those interested in learning more about allowing a longer "bond" time for all parents, even those that can't afford unpaid FMLA:

More info on the CA program:

Some interesting points from the National Partnership for Women & Children:(

•America’s workforce has changed, but the nation’s public policies have not kept pace. Women and mothers are a permanent fixture in the workforce — and odds are slim that after a child’s birth its mother will stay home full time while its father works as the family’s sole breadwinner. Seventy-two percent of women work at some point before giving birth to a first child; among women who worked during pregnancy, 73 percent return to work within six months of giving birth. Seventy-sevenpercentofmotherswith children under the age of six and 78 percent of mothers with elementary- to high-school-age children work outsidethehome.9 Infact,71percentofchildrenliveinhouseholdswhereallparentswork.10
What’s more, women’s wages are critical — both to the national economy and the economic security of their families. The wages that a woman brings home can increasingly make or break her family’s economic security. Women are now the primary or co-breadwinners in more than six out of 10 households, and nearly 40 percent are the main or sole breadwinner. In lower-income households, women’s earnings are even more important to the family’s economic survival.

•The workplace protections available to U.S. workers pale in comparison to those enjoyed by workers
in the rest of the world. The United States does not even provide unpaid leave to all new parents. In contrast, 178 countries guarantee paid leave to women in connection with childbirth, and 54 guarantee paid paternity or parental leave. The United States is the only highly competitive country that fails to provide paid leave to new parents.

•Low-wage workers face particular challenges upon the arrival of a new child. They are disproportionately unable to access unpaid leave under the FMLA because they tend to work for smaller employers, have shorter tenures and work multiple part-time jobs.33 They are also far more likely to not have access to employer-provided short-term disability insurance, paid sick days, paid vacation days and employer-provided paid family leave. These challenges compound the daily hardships that low-wage workers already face, including low pay, little access to health insurance or other workplace benefits, and little control over hours or schedules.

Thanks to those who gave thoughtful responses!

Featured Answers



answers from Dallas on

While it sounds like a great thing, the problem is that we are bankrupt as a nation. So, yes, in that regard we are catching up with the rest of the world.

8 moms found this helpful


answers from Chicago on

I think, if nothing else, that would be a great marketing tool for a company!!
I work for a great company - they paid 70% for 6 weeks and I used my own vacation and/or sick time for the other 6 weeks when I had both of my kids (I used to hoard time so could still get paid for the time off).
I did do a lot of reading when I was expecting my oldest and read about all of the countries that have some pretty great benefits for people having children.

3 moms found this helpful

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answers from Milwaukee on

I think this is a bad idea. The states don't have the funds to be doing this-especially CA and NJ. I just saw something on TV about how broke NJ was and they were talking about the life guards at the Jersey Shore and how they only work the three/four months in the summer and then spend the rest of the year on unemployment. Why should they bother getting a winter job when the state is supporting them?

It is not usually the company paying you either. They probably have STD (short term disability coverage) for the the employee and perhaps pay for that coverage but they are not just paying you your salary.

10 moms found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

I don't think people should be paid by the state, sorry. I think if you earn paid time off from your employer, then you can use it. If you have maternity leave from your employer, then you can use it. The states are tapped out, as it is. If someone can't afford to take the time off, how in the world can they afford a child? I don't think people should start getting paid time off from the state, that's ridiculous.

I hope it's not a trend.

ETA: Pregnancy and childbirth, are not disabilities. I'm against this, because far too many people have children, when they can't afford them. If they NEED someone else to pay for their healing period, that's pretty indicative, that they aren't in a financial position to provide for a family. I'm so sick of people in this country doing what they want, and taking no personal financial responsibility for it.

9 moms found this helpful


answers from New York on

I definitely used paid family leave and was grateful for it. Employers here pay into it so it's not a "taxpayer burden." Let's get educated people! The same thing with unemployment. We pay into it! States are bankrupt because of their mismanagement of money for earmarks and political cronyism--NOT BECAUSE OF THINGS WE PAY INTO via employers!

Anyway, was grateful for paid family leave--6 weeks at 60 percent--and also used my unused sick time/vacation time to get four months.

We are a far cry from our European counterparts, especially when it comes to maternity leave and "holiday." Then again, if we were more like Europe, people would cry SOCIALISM.

Tired of it all but grateful for "baby" steps in terms of paid family time!

7 moms found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

Yes. I've heard of it. No. I've not researched it so I don't know all about it.

If it's another entitlement program paid for by taxpayers - no freaking wonder California is bankrupt - between supplying "free" money, food, housing and education to ILLEGAL immigrants...they are now floating the boat for people to take extra time off to have babies!!!

If it is a plan that **I** pay into for myself? Yes.

If you didn't plan properly? Not my fault. Pregnancies are avoidable. So why should **I** have to pay for your lack of planning? Nor should you have to pay for mine.

No. I didn't use it when my kids were born - and to top it off? It's MY responsibility to plan financially for the birth of my child and be able to take the time off work. It's called BEING RESPONSIBLE....if you can't afford to have a child - you shouldn't be having if this is something **I** pay into? Great. If not. Scrap it. We have enough entitlement programs that are sucking our country dry.

7 moms found this helpful


answers from San Francisco on

I don't understand why all states don't use this system... well, I do. Politics. But it's a great system. It's an 'insurance' program reflecting the reality of modern medical and family responsibilities and NOT just for people having babies.

Employees pay into a DISABILITY fund to the state and it can be used for eligable employees for certain life changing events such as child birth, illness, to care for a sick family member etc. IT'S NOT JUST FOR NEW MOTHERS/FATHERS.

IMO, the people who say they wouldn't want this system or would never use it, are the same people who say social security and unemployment are a waste and something they'll never use.

I just watched a family member needing medical leave - in another state that doesn't have this system - get "laid off", collect unemployment (a system that works the same way as this disability program) and then get re-hired again just to trick the system. It's duplicating what the disability system does but uses up unemployment benefits illegally. Why is this better?

Sadly, it's purely the anti-tax and anti-employee sentiments in the U.S. that makes this system unpopular.

6 moms found this helpful


answers from San Francisco on

Yes, I have used it! It wasn't available when my first child was born, so I had to go back to work when she was 6 weeks old. With my second child, I was able to take the full 14 weeks off, and it was so wonderful.

Since this is something employees pay into, similar to a disability policy, I think it's great. Men are also eligible to take part in this, and it is not just for childbirth. Both men and women can take time off in order to bond with a newborn, bond with a newly adopted child, or even take care of a family member who is seriously ill. There is no cost to the employer, so if they need to hire a temp or pay overtime to others to cover your position while you are out, there is no financial burden on them while they do that. I can't imagine why more states don't offer this, and furthermore I find it shocking that so many moms are against this (?!).

6 moms found this helpful


answers from Norfolk on

It would be nice to join the civilized world, but it will never fly on a large scale in this country.
Our country prefers to keep workers too afraid of losing their jobs to actually take vacation time they have accrued and that's often only 2 weeks a year.
Europeans have recognized that workers that have time off are happier and more productive - in the UK you get 4 weeks off a year and if you work for a really good company, they might give you an extra 2 weeks on top of that.
People who can take long trips promote tourism and travel the world and experience many cultures.
In general I think it promotes a healthier world view.
Europeans recognize that health care tied to employment leaves too many holes for too many people to fall through, so people can change jobs when ever they want to and not feel they have to stay some place they hate merely to maintain a benefit for their families.
Some countries have maternity leave that ranges from 6 months to 2 years, often on reduced pay, but they value families and babies and they don't make it difficult but at the same time they are not paying people to sit on their behinds for the purpose of merely breeding.
The US could not possibly care less about families and babies because we can always import who ever we need when ever we need them.
I sometimes think the actual citizens are something of an annoyance to our own government except for the taxes we pay.
I delete hate mail, so don't bother.

6 moms found this helpful


answers from St. Louis on

No thanks I prefer my wages in cash. Every employer has a set amount they pay an employee, force a paid benefit on them they take it away from some other part of your wages or benefits. Why would I give up what I have for a benefit I may never use? That would be silly.

After reading your what happened, I was not aware but since you said it was like unemployment, that my employer pays into, wouldn't they have to pay into this as well?

Please don't twist my words. I said nothing of the sort.

5 moms found this helpful


answers from New York on

I live in NJ so I thought everyone in the entire 50 states got "disability" when they had a baby. I recently learned that only 4 or 5 states have this. I got 4 weeks before my due date (paid at 60% I believe) and then I think it was 8 weeks after at that same rate because I had a c-section. Until very recently, I could not understand why women worked up until their due dates or went back to work so soon. I was like, 60% is not enough for you guys??? I think it's disgusting that this is not required in all 50 states. In many parts of the world, they get months or even years to care for their infants. So messed up.

I am shocked that some of you think this is a "bad" idea. The reason NJ has money issues is not because of this. We pay our civil servants ridiculously high wages and and they get the most amazing benefit packages available. Not just the teachers but police officers especially. It is not unusual to have cops and teachers making 6 figures with full benefits. We also have entensive human services here as well so no O. is uninsured (at least no child), special needs children get the services they need, and schools are top notch.

5 moms found this helpful


answers from Minneapolis on

I'll answer this both from the viewpoint of a mother and an employer:
As a mother, I planned, saved, even delayed having children until I could afford to take 6-8 weeks off when they were born. I think i bought disability insurance with the 2nd O., which covered 4 of the 6 weeks i was out.

As an employer, there is no 'free lunch'. To pass this off as having no cost to the consumer/taxpayer/common citizen is false. I currenlty pay in (out of my pocket) approximately $90 of UE and FICA taxes for every $1000 I pay to an employee. For 80% of my workers, my cost per $2000 monthly paycheck they receive for medical insurance is another $600. Who do you think really pays for these expenses? The consumer! Everytime I have a new tax, I have to hike the cost of my product to keep up with it. Or go bankrupt. For anyone thinking us businesses pay no taxes and reap obscene profits, about 40% of my bottome line after paying the wages and taxes goes to the IRS and DOR.

So I guess the more appropriate question here is: Would you rather pay $4.50 for a gallon of milk for the rest of your life and have paid 6 weeks of maternity leave, or would you rather pay $3.50 and use the savings to cover the cost of your maternity leave?

5 moms found this helpful


answers from Albuquerque on

Wow! I am shocked by some of the responses on here! I would've LOVED to have taken more time off work after I had my daughter, but I only had enough leave for 4.5 weeks, so I took off 9 weeks and got half paychecks. Yes, it was hard to take that cut in pay (even with hubby working full-time), but we did what we had to do. Obviously, the women who do/would benefit from this aren't "living off the state" or having "welfare babies"--duh, they HAVE JOBS--jobs with BENEFITS! If I were weighing benefits, the ability to take paid maternity leave (beyond whatever paid leave I am able to save) would definitely lean me towards a potential employer over another that didn't offer that benefit. I would've been a much more competent employee those first couple of months back if I could've spent more time with my baby--it was very stressful to leave my 9-week-old newborn with strangers, nevermind the physical aspect (recovery from c-section, hormonal shifts, sleep depravation, breastfeeding)!
I also look at it as an employee who has a lot of pride and motivation to do my job WELL! I am a state employee and haven't had a raise in 5 years (not the union-"mandated" or cost of living), and in fact, take home less than when I started 5.5 years ago because the state keeps taking more of my money towards retirement (to make up for their shortfalls) and insurance. We also had a hiring freeze for 3 years, which meant I was doing 2-3 times the amount of work I was hired for. My insurance rates have gone up, the cost of living has gone up, my retirement contributions have gone up--and my pay has not changed! I do count myself as blessed to have a good, reliable job and a decent pay rate. But, it would be nice to have a little more to show for it, if you know what I mean.
So, yes, if an employer offered this as an option (I don't think it should be state-mandated), it would weigh a lot in my consideration of that job. Heck, I'm struggling to save up my leave NOW so I can have paid leave when I have the next baby (which will be in like another 2-3 years)!

5 moms found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

I don't know. I'd have to know more about it. Who pays for it? Is it government sponsored, or is it a private thing that companies can buy into? Isn't that the same as short-term disability? I like to have an option whether I buy into short-term disability or not, because it's expensive and I may not use it.

Just on the surface, this type of thing sounds expensive, and this country is in no shape to take on further debt for something that we've been living without just fine.

We don't need even more impetus for women to have babies they can't afford. Welfare causes enough of that.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Boston on

Yes - it's nice to see some states making progress in this area. It's like short-term disability but at a state level and works similarly to unemployment where companies pay a small amount into a pool.

I did have some paid time off with my younger kids but with my oldest, I had to take my leave unpaid and as a single mom, you can imagine how painful that was. The week I went back to work I paid for enough gas to get me there and back for the week and then had $0.53 to live on while waiting for my first paycheck.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Pittsburgh on

Well, employers are taxpayers so in fact we do pay for it. Just like I pay unemployment tax for my employees. I see both advantages and disadvantages. I don't see why I should pay for someone to have 3 or 4 or 5 kids - I am already paying for an interim employee while they are out and I don't in any way support people doing any more than replacing themselves on the planet. However, I would support men using this benefit either once or twice to stay home with their infants or for adults who have aging or dying parents they need to care for for some period of time.

I guess what I really support is UNPAID leave - I don't think you should be penalized for being a real father or having parents. If you can't afford to take 6 weeks off work, you probably can't really afford another child. Sorry, but that is pretty much true.

I am an employer and without DH and myself, there is no income - for us or our employees. When I had DS, I took 4 weeks off (then part time for 3 weeks, then FT), DH took 2 weeks off and yes - we paid our employees for the initial 2 weeks the business was completely CLOSED and the following 6 weeks we were at less than capacity.

I do NOT feel it should be government policy to encourage people to have more (or any) children. Seven billion miracles are enough.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Los Angeles on

I used fmla after I delivered and I think in all I got 3 months paid after my child was born. I didn't have paid maternity leave so goodness gracious it was helpful! I never could've stayed home with my daughter if I didn't receive it. Its the same as disability in how they calculate your payment, I remember thinking though how I would survive on it, (because it still was significantly less than my wages), but I was sooo grateful for it. If I didn't receive it I would've had to go back to work right after I delivered and I'm not sure how I would've done that. Many people I know get paid maternity leave from their employer and they have never used fmla.
ETA: Its not some free handout from what I remember. Eligibility depends on the amount of time worked (over a year and over a certain amount of hours in that year). And from what I remember I believe I paid into it as part of my disability tax. Its NOT something that everyone is eligible for and you have to have a certain amount of points (hours/years worked/money paid into it), to even be eligible.
I just looked up an old pay check and I paid $40/mo in SDI and this is in addition to the OASDI I paid into. I feel I paid a grip in taxes per paycheck and I didn't even make a lot of money!

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Los Angeles on

Yep, I used it; I'm in California. Of course it was helpful! I was able to spend more time with my newborn after her birth and that's always a good thing in my book.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Charlotte on

Is it kind of like short-term disability?

I paid for short-term disability when I was working, and when I had to go on complete bedrest at 24 weeks, I collected for the weeks I was out. However, I did not collect when I had my second baby, during my maternity leave.

I was mighty grateful for that disability insurance. It's the only time I used it in all those years, but it was there when I needed it.

If the company doesn't pay it, it would be nice if there were a way for the employee to buy that type of insurance.


2 moms found this helpful


answers from Denver on

I was not aware of this. I worked for Wells Fargo when I was pregnant with my son. The company paid 100% for my first 6 weeks off, and then I took another 6 weeks bonding leave (unpaid, but with benefits). This was 5 years ago though.

2 moms found this helpful
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