Three states and the District of Columbia have been awarded federal grants totaling $500,000 to study the feasibility of developing and implementing statewide paid family and medical leave programs, the U.S. Labor Department announced Wednesday.
The three states that will receive grant funding from the Labor Department's Women's Bureau and Employment and Training Administration are Massachusetts, Montana and Rhode Island. With the help of local groups, D.C. Mayor Vincent Gray and the governors of the three states applied for the federal funding.
“These grants signal a real commitment from the Labor Department, and state and local leaders and advocates to find concrete, innovative ways to ensure more people in this country have access to the paid family and medical leave they need,” Debra Ness, president of the Washington, D.C.-based National Partnership for Women and Families, said in a statement. “This is an exciting and welcome step toward the day when no worker has to choose between caring for a loved one and a paycheck.”
Here is a breakdown of the grant funding, as detailed in a Labor Department news release:
According to the National Partnership for Women and Families, "just 12 percent of the U.S. workforce has access to paid family leave through their employers, and less than 40 percent has personal medical leave through an employer-provided temporary disability insurance program."
California and New Jersey, for example, already have paid family leave insurance programs. Rhode Island adopted a similar program this year. Locally, there is a push to make earned paid sick days a requirement for private employers in Chicago.