Labor Department funds $1.1 million in paid leave research

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Thomas Perez
Thomas Perez

The U.S. Department of Labor's Women's Bureau has awarded $1.1 million in grants to research and analyze how paid family and medical leave programs can be developed and implemented across the country, the department announced Tuesday.

The grants build on the Paid Leave Analysis Grant Program that, since 2014, has committed more than $3 million to 17 states and municipalities to fund research and analysis on the implementation of programs that enable workers to temporarily leave their jobs but still be paid while caring for aging parents, young children or themselves. In the latest round, monies will go to the Pennsylvania Department of Labor and Industry; the Hawaii Department of Human Services; the Indiana Commission for Women; the city of Madison, WI; the city and county of Denver; and the Franklin County, OH, Board of Commissioners.

The Family and Medical Leave Act guarantees unpaid, job-protected leave for qualified workers who need it, but many employees can't afford to go without a paycheck, according to the Labor Department.

“The grants ... will help innovative state and local officials design paid-leave policies that work for their citizens,” said Labor Secretary Thomas E. Perez, expressing frustration that Congress has not passed national legislation. “These important grants build on our work to make sure that people have the tools to be responsible employees and good caregivers.”

Twelve percent of private-sector workers have access to paid family leave through their employers, according to the Labor Department.

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