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Can Paid Family Leave Encourage Employees to Return to Work Earlier?

September 10th, 2021 Miheret Hasenu

According to an article published on CNBC, the Bipartisan Policy Center and Morning Consult conducted a survey to determine whether paid family leave can push unemployed Americans to return to work sooner. The survey found that 37 percent of employees who have stopped working due to the pandemic would agree to come back to work if their employer offered paid family leave. Furthermore, 58 percent of American employees who have reduced their hours also stated that they would work longer if their employer instituted the policy. These findings came after a similar survey, conducted by the same organization last year, discovered that millions of workers quit their jobs due to “caregiving responsibilities.” The majority of these employees— who happen to be people of color—expressed the difficulties of simultaneously fulfilling caregiving and rigid workplace responsibilities.

What Do the Results of the Survey Suggest?

The article notes that the United States is one of the few wealthy countries without a national family paid leave policy. Currently over “79% of workers do not have access to paid family leave, while 60% do not have access to paid medical leave.” With the rise of the pandemic and schools closing, caregivers have faced challenges with balancing their home and work responsibilities. As a result, many have lost their jobs and became dependent on federal unemployment benefits. An associate director at the Bipartisan Policy Center referred to the survey results to explain why employees need “workplace flexibility” and how they can receive that through paid family leave. 

Potential Changes to the Family Medical Leave Act

Since the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) was established in 1993, many have encouraged states to implement paid leave policies over the years after seeing that unpaid leave is not affordable or accessible for all employees. According to the article, “only nine states, including New York, New Jersey, and Washington D.C. have instituted paid leave programs.” However, even in states that have created paid family leave programs, there are still “barriers to access.” Employees must meet certain criteria in order to be granted FMLA. Due to the existing limitations of FMLA, coupled with the pandemic, there is a stronger need for change to occur in the workplace. While amendments to FMLA have yet to be enacted,  President Joe Biden proposed a plan to pay “up to 12 weeks of paid family leave by raising taxes” in an announcement to the American Families Plan back in April.

Seek Legal Assistance Today 

If your employer has violated your FMLA rights, seek legal assistance from the Working Solutions Law Firm, located in New York City and Livingston, NJ. Contact us today at (646)-430-7930 to schedule a free case evaluation and receive experienced legal counsel.