Progressive States Network’s Economic Security Working Group of State Legislators (ESWG) provides research, polling, model legislation and everything else legislators need to institute pro-worker policies. Below you will find information on paid family leave, for the full toolkit, join the ESWG here .
Interested in introducing a paid family leave bill in your state? Scroll to the bottom of this page to find legislation from states that have successfully implemented paid family leave policies for their workers.
What is Paid Family Leave and why is it important?
Millions of Americans go to work sick every year because they cannot afford to take the time off necessary to get healthy. Millions more risk their financial stability to care for a sick child or partner because they don’t have access to paid time off for family leave. Paid leave for workers is not just an issue of economic security for America’s working class, but also a public health concern as waiters and service workers are forced to expose the public to sickness because they can’t afford to take time off. In the United States, only 50 percent of workers are protected by the federal Family Medical Leave Act, less than 40 percent can take family leave through disability insurance, and a tiny fraction, 12 percent, have access to paid leave through their employer. So, only half of workers can take time off of work to care for a seriously ill loved one or to recuperate from their own debilitating illness. Barely a tenth of workers could take time to bond with a new child while still getting paid by their work.
There is a simple solution that deals with leave for family needs like new born babies, adoptions, or family members contracting serious illnesses. Paid family leave legislation sets up an insurance program, or piggy-backs on a state’s existing temporary disability insurance program. Workers pay a tiny portion of their wages into a fund, a couple of cents an hour usually, which then allows those workers to receive payments from the paid family leave program for a limited portion of time each year when they need to care for family. California has implemented a paid family leave program and reports show that employees and employers alike are happy with the program and are enjoying the benefits of a healthier workforce. The vast majority of employers reported no effect or even a positive effect of the law on their business. The benefits were even more pronounced for smaller businesses, the same businesses that opponents of paid leave say these laws will cripple. Paid leave in California helped all levels of workers, but especially low- wage workers who didn’t have access to many employer-provided benefits.
Sucessful Legislative Examples
Several states have implemented paid family policies that can be used as models for other states looking to increase the security of working families. Click on a state to view their legislation.
New Jersey 
Rhode Island