The Future of Paid Sick and Family Leave

Posted by Marisa Jue Oct 12, 2015 7:00:00 AM on

As we start to move into cold and flu season, here’s something to think about: 43 million workers in the United States do not have access to paid sick and family leave. Likewise, the U.S. is the only developed country that does not have mandatory national paid maternity leave. So while the federal government continues to struggle to define nationwide standards for employee protections and benefits, workers across the country are forced to choose between a paid day of work and taking care of their family and personal health concerns.

Of course, the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) does provide job-protected leave to eligible employees who need to take leave for family and medical reasons. However, this FMLA leave is unpaid and many employees simply cannot afford to take advantage of it. Thankfully, local and state governments seem to be moving forward where the federal government is not.

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Topics: paid time off, sick time, sick leave

The Tortured History of Paid Leave in the United States

Posted by Alan E. May 7, 2014 7:00:00 AM on

How did we get here?
The United States is one of the few industrialized countries without statutory national mandates for paid leave. The EU  requires a minimum of twenty leave days, not counting national holidays. Australia has similar laws.

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On average, U.S. companies provide ten to twenty days per year depending upon seniority. But many companies provide only ten days (two weeks) off per year. Then there the 25 percent of American workers and 31 percent of low wage earners have no paid vacation time at all, according to a 2011 study by the Center for Economics and Research

Where Did Paid Leave Start?

Amazingly, while the U.S. currently lags behind, the push for paid leave actually started here. Paid leave mandates have been attempted and got stopped each time. More than 100 years ago, in 1910 President William Taft proposed that every American worker needed 2 to 3 months of vacation. He said it was “in order to continue his work next year with the energy and effectiveness which it ought to have.” Taft hammered away at Congress, but his law never passed. However, But around this time, Sweden and Germany took the American president's lead, and both passed legislation mandating seven weeks of paid vacation per year.

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Topics: Time Off Management, vacation time, paid time off, sick time

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