The United States remains the only industrialized economy in the world that does not guarantee paid leave for new mothers or a paid sick leave standard, and one of a handful that does not guarantee leave for new fathers. While the Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993 was a strong first step in supporting individuals struggling to balance work and family demands, the federal law provides unpaid leave, an option that is not viable for many working families and for which 40 percent of working Americans do not qualify. As a result, states have begun enacting their own initiatives to provide paid leave benefits, including family and medical leave.
This is the second in a series of three reports on paid leave. This report focuses on the four states that have enacted paid family leave programs, and includes the various components of their policies in four sections: (1) legislative activities and process; (2) policy and program design, including benefit levels, financing, and implementation; (3) outreach efforts; and (4) utilization of benefits and awareness. This report also provides lessons learned that Montana policymakers and advocates can use to inform their own research and policy design.