Research and Resource Documents

The Paid Family and Medical Leave Opportunity: What Research Tells Us About Designing a Paid Leave Program that Works for All.

By: Kali Grant, Cara Brumfield, Sophie Khan, Funke Aderonmu, and Indivar Dutta-Gupta. Georgetown Law: Center on Poverty and Inequality and PL+US.

Posted by: Kathy White - August 16,2019

Summary: A thorough compilation of research on paid family and medical leave programs with recommendations for policy levers and program parameters that policymakers should consider in developing and adequate and equitable paid leave proposal.

Parental Leave Bill Comparison

By: IWF Policy Staff

Posted by: Hadley Manning

Summary: This is a chart comparing/contrasting federal paid family leave bills.

Policy Focus: Expanding Paid Family Leave Without Disadvantaging Low-Income Families

By: Kristin A. Shapiro

Posted by: Hadley Manning

Summary: This brief lays out alternative policy solutions that would expand access to paid family leave while avoiding the negative redistributional effect that accompanies the government social insurance model.

Parental Benefits in Canada

By: Jennifer Robson - Canada's Institute for Research on Public Policy

Posted by: Hadley Manning

Summary: “Outside Quebec, access to benefits is very unequal: new families whose children might most benefit from income support—parents who are young, less educated and have lower income, as well as single-earner or single-parent families—are least likely to get public maternity or parental benefits.” It further noted that Quebec operates its own program, and “[a]lthough Quebec has made changes to reduce the obstacles to entry for many more parents, benefits are still not equally used by mothers with lower socio-economic status.”

Paid Family Leave, Job Protection and Low Take-up among Low-wage Workers

By: Ariel Pihl and Gaetano Basso, UC Davis

Posted by: Hadley Manning

Summary: “[a]lthough a large majority of the California workforce is eligible for [paid family leave], only a quarter of new mothers use the benefit,” and “[t]he median [leave] taker makes about $10,000 more per year than the median of working California women.”


California's Paid Family Leave Program

By: Leonor Ehling, CALIFORNIA SENATE OFFICE OF RESEARCH

Posted by: Hadley Manning

Summary: “fewer than 4 percent of claimants had incomes in the lowest [income] bracket,” whereas “more than 20 percent of claimants had incomes in the highest bracket.”


Parental-leave rich and parental-leave poor: Inequality in Canadian labour market based leave policies

By: Lindsey McKay Brock University, Canada Sophie Mathieu Universite´ de Montre´al, Canada Andrea Doucet Brock University, Canada

Posted by: Hadley Manning

Summary: “While all Canadian workers and employers . . . are contributing to parental leave benefits, some groups—notably low-income households—are consistently not receiving these benefits, thus indicating class discrimination in leave benefit policy as a systemic and structural inequality.”


Use of Parental Benefits by Family Income in Canada: Two Policy Changes

By: Rachel Margolis, Feng Hou, Michael Haan, Anders Holm

Posted by: Hadley Manning

Summary: About 75 to 85 percent of mothers with household incomes above C$60,000 receive parental leave benefits from the government, whereas only about 45 percent of mothers with household incomes under C$30,000 receive such benefits.


Evaluating the San Francisco Paid Parental Leave Ordinance: Employer Perspectives

By: Julia M. Goodman, Oregon Health & Science University/Portland State University William H. Dow, University of California at Berkeley Holly Elser, University of California at Berkeley

Posted by: Hadley Manning

Summary: While 79 percent of new moms with household incomes above $97,000 received paid leave benefits from the government, only 36 percent of moms with household incomes under $32,000 received such support


Leaves that Pay

By: Eileen Appelbaum and Ruth Milkman

Posted by: Hadley Manning

Summary: While approximately 65 percent of families with household incomes above $80,000 a year knew of the program, only approximately 35 percent of families with household incomes under $30,000 knew of it.


Effective Tax Rates

By: Congressional Budget Office

Posted by: Hadley Manning

Summary: "CBO also assumes as do most economists that the employers share of payroll taxes is passed on to employees in the form of lower wages than would otherwise be paid. Therefore, the amount of those taxes is included in employees income, and the taxes are counted as part of employees tax burden."


Boosting Families, Boosting the Economy: How to Improve New Jersey’s Paid Family Leave Program

By: Amy Dunford and Kathleen Crotty Fellow, New Jersey Policy Perspective

Posted by: Hadley Manning

Summary: Only about 12 percent of new parents use the program, and “the take-up rate among low-income workers is likely even lower.”


Launching the Rhode Island Temporary Caregiver Insurance Program (TCI): Employee Experiences One Year Later

By: Barbara E. Silver, Ph.D. Helen Mederer, Ph.D. Emilija Djurdjevic, Ph.D., University of Rhode Island

Posted by: Hadley Manning

Summary: The widest differential in the program’s use was “between lower and higher income groups."


Productive Parents

By: Thomas Cawston, Andrew Haldenby, Patrick Nolan, Laura Taylor, Elizabeth Truss

Posted by: Hadley Manning

Summary: A study of parental leave in the UK. While 68 percent of high-income mothers take more than 26 weeks of parental leave, only 31 percent of low-income mothers do. The authors concluded that “[t]his compounds the financial bias in current arrangements that favour higher income families, and “[t]his also means that parents who have worked and paid taxes throughout their lives do not receive government support.”


What Is the Case for Paid Maternity Leave?

By: Gordon B. Dahl, Katrine V. Løken, Magne Mogstad, Kari Vea Salvanes

Posted by: Hadley Manning

Summary: A study of Norway's program: The authors concluded that the program amounted to a “pure leisure transfer to middle and upper income families . . . at the expense of some of the least well off in society.” They reiterated that their analysis “make[s] clear that paid parental leave has negative redistribution properties.”


Parental leave uptake among migrant and native mothers: Can precarious employment trajectories account for the difference?

Posted by: Hadley Manning

Summary: "Parental leave legislation perpetuates social inequalities by mainly supporting the balance between work and family for those who already attained an advantageous position in the labour market before the birth of their first child.”


Parental Leave in Iceland Bringing the Fathers in

By: Ingólfur V. Gíslason

Posted by: Hadley Manning

Summary: Study suggests that low-income and immigrant families are less likely to benefit from the program.


Sweden: Current leave and other employment-related policies to support parents

By: Ann-Zofie Duvander (Stockholm University) and Linda Haas (Indiana University)

Posted by: Hadley Manning

Summary: Study suggests that low-income and immigrant families are less likely to benefit from the program.


Paid Family and Medical Leave in the United States: Using Data to Guide Public Policy

By: Ben Gitis

Posted by: Hadley Manning

Summary: While approximately 66 and 83 percent of workers in middle- and high-income families, respectively, have some form of paid leave through their employers, only approximately 33 percent of workers in low-income families have access to paid leave.


The Cost of Doing Nothing

By: US Department of Labor

Posted by: Kathy White

Summary: Cost of the US's current inadequate patchwork system.

National Partnership for Women & Families

By: National Partnership for Women & Families

Posted by: Kathy White

Summary: Best practices in state implementation of paid family and medical leave.

Pay Matters: The Positive Economic Impacts of Paid Family Leave for Families, Businesses and the Public

By: Rutgers Center for Women and Work

Posted by: Kathy White

Summary: Positive economic impacts to families, businesses and state governments of paid leave.


Paid Family and Medical Leave Must be Comprehensive to Help Workers and Their Children

By: Center for American Progress

Posted by: Kathy White

Summary: Comprehensive reasons for leave are required for today's families.

Paid Family and Medical Leave in the United States: A Research Agenda

By: Center for Equitable Growth

Posted by: Kathy White

Summary: The facts on the need for paid family and medical leave.

California’s paid family leave policy is decreasing nursing home use and saving Medicaid dollars

By: Center for Equitable Growth

Posted by: Kathy White

Summary: Looking at the research on long term care and elder care needs, cost savings to states.


Why Paid Family Leave Is Good Business

By: Boston Consulting Group

Posted by: Kathy White

Summary: How businesses are changing, how paid leave benefits them, how a state plan would ensure full access.

Paid Family and Medical Leave: A Racial Justice Issue – and Opportunity

By: National Partnership for Women & Families

Posted by: Kathy White

Summary: Why access to paid leave must be designed with race, gender and income equity in mind.

Paid Family Leave Policies And Population Health

By: Health Affairs

Posted by: Kathy White

Summary: The health and labor market impact of access to paid family and medical leave.


Zero Weeks: America's Family Leave Crisis and the Cost of Doing Nothing

By: Documentary by Ky Dickens

Posted by: Kathy White

Summary: A documentary film with facts and stories about the need for paid family and medical leave in the United States.

Paid Family and Medical Leave: Impact and Implementation

By: Federal Reserve Bank of Boston

Posted by: Kathy White

Summary: How to design a program that is equitable for low-wage workers.

Paid Family and Medical Leave is Critical for Low-wage Workers and Their Families

By: Center for Law and Social Policy (CLASP)

Posted by: Kathy White

Summary: How to create an equitable and adequate paid leave program for low- and moderate-income working families.


Constructing 21st Century Rights for a Changing Workforce: Paid Family and Medical Leave & Nonstandard Employees

By: A Better Balance

Posted by: Judith Marquez

Summary: This report includes research on the changing workforce (such as nonstandard and "gig" employees) and the case for portable, comprehensive paid family and medical leave programs. Based on research and state programs, the report addresses eight key issue areas to consider for paid family and medical leave programs, such as universal coverage, employment duration, benefit levels, job protection, misclassification, domestic workers, and outreach/education.

The Importance of a Broad Family Definition in a Paid Family Leave Program

By: A Better Balance and Family Values @ Work,

Posted by: Judith Marquez

Summary: This comprehensive fact sheet shows the need for an inclusive family definition in paid family and medical leave laws. The authors highlight: state and federal precedents for an inclusive family definition in workplace leave; evidence that a broad family definition provides certain workers without leading to significant increases in program costs; and the demographic need for inclusive family definitions due to the prevalence and experience of multigenerational households, seniors, LGBTQ families, and other close networks of loved ones.

At A Glance: The Case for Paid Medical Leave

By: A Better Balance,

Posted by: Judith Marquez

Summary: This fact sheet provides research to show the importance of paid family and medical leave that workers can use for their own serious health needs.

For the Health of Our Families: Engaging the Health Community in Paid Family Leave Outreach and Education

By: A Better Balance,

Posted by: Judith Marquez

Summary: "This Report canvasses the research on the health benefits of paid family leave for working families at all stages of life."


Making Paid Leave Work for Every Family

By: Family Values @ Work, Forward Together, A Better Balance, and the Center for American Progress

Posted by: Judith Marquez

Summary: This 2016 report uses research to highlight the need among LGBTQ individuals and families for inclusive paid leave protections.


Exploring the Relationship Between Paid Family Leave and the Well-being of Low-Income Families: Lessons from California, January 2017

By: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office of the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation Office of Human Services Policy

Posted by: Judith Marquez

Summary: “Paid family leave (PFL) at the birth of a child can have positive effects on child and parental well-being, and on subsequent maternal work outcomes. Lower-income families are least likely to have access to paid leave through parents’ employers. California’s Paid Family Leave program is the most accessible of the public PFL programs to low-income working parents because of its modest earnings requirements. This study drew on California state administrative data and findings from focus groups with low-income working mothers to 1) explore how lower-income parents interact with California's PFL program and 2) better understand the relationship between PFL and key elements of family well-being, especially for economically disadvantaged families.”

Supporting Employment Among Lower-Income Mothers: The Role of Paid Family Leave

By: U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, Office of the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation

Posted by: Jared Make

Summary: This brief details a qualitative study examining lower-income mothers, finding that “Mothers, especially single mothers and those with the fewest family resources, described PFL [paid family leave] as supporting their return to employment. . . . Other mothers said the time it offered kept them from quitting work altogether.” The brief also shows how sufficient wage replacement and length of leave are important to lower-income mothers.

The Cost of Work-Family Policy Inaction: Quantifying the Costs Families Currently Face as a Result of Lacking U.S. Work-Family Policies

By: The Center for American Progress

Posted by: Jared Make

Summary: This report quantifies the often hidden costs already incurred in the United States by not guaranteeing paid family and medical leave. The analysis shows that every year, working families in the U.S. lose out on at least $20.6 billion in lost wages due to a lack of access to paid family and medical leave.

Security & Stability Paid Family and Medical Leave and its Importance to People with Disabilities and their Families

By: Georgetown Center on Poverty and Inequality and The Arc

Posted by: Jared Make

Summary: “The report begins with a brief overview of statistical data on disability and work in the United States. It then explores the benefits of paid leave for people with disabilities and their families before providing an overview of current access to and utilization of paid leave. Finally, it outlines principles to maximize the impact and reach of paid leave for people with disabilities and their families.”


New Research Shows California Paid Family Leave Reduces Poverty

By: the Washington Center for Equitable Growth

Posted by: Jared Make

Summary: This document details data from the Social Service Review (available at https://www.journals.uchicago.edu/doi/full/10.1086/703138) which found “that between 2004 and 2013, the California paid leave program increased household income levels and lowered poverty rates for mothers of 1-year-olds. . . .” The data also shows that “the introduction of paid leave in California is tied to a 10.2 percent decrease in risk of new mothers dropping below the poverty threshold and disproportionately helps women with lower levels of education and who are unmarried.”


California’s Paid Family Leave Policy is Decreasing Nursing Home Use and Saving Medicaid Dollars

By: the Washington Center for Equitable Growth

Posted by: Jared Make

Summary: This document details data from the Journal of Public Policy and Administration (available at https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/epdf/10.1002/pam.22038) where the academic authors used “longitudinal, state-level data” to find that “[t]he estimated effect of paid family and medical leave on nursing home utilization in California is a decline of more than 11 percent in the share of the elderly residing in nursing homes.”


Veterans and Military Families Need Comprehensive Paid Leave Solutions

By: Center for American Progress

Posted by: Jared Make

Summary: Details the need for paid family and medical leave among veteran and military families, including data regarding the prevalence of caregiving, higher levels of needing to miss work, greater levels of financial strain, and incidence of negative health outcomes.


Rhetoric vs. Reality: Paid Family and Medical Leave Proposed Business Tax Credits and Pregnancy 401(k)s Fall Short for Working Families

By: Center for American Progress

Posted by: Jared Make

Summary: This report provides research and citations regarding the significant gaps in proposals to provide tax credits for voluntary paid family leave, as opposed to comprehensive social insurance. The authors look to other tax credit programs to show that the effect would be limited on employer behavior and concludes that “if employers are expected to implement paid leave on their own, this piecemeal approach could disproportionately affect businesses that employ large numbers of women of child-bearing age or older workers who are more likely to need temporary disability leave.”


The Long-Term Effects of California's 2004 Paid Family Leave Act on Women's Careers

By: U Michigan Econ Dept

Posted by: Hadley Manning

Summary: "For new mothers, taking up PFLA reduced employment by 7 percent and lowered annual wages by 8 percent six to ten years after giving birth. Overall, PFLA tended to reduce the number of children born and, by decreasing mothers’ time at work, increase time spent with children."