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Universal Paid Family and Medical Leave Will Generate Economy-Wide Benefits and Spur Economic Growth

Key Points:
Only 23% of American workers have access to paid family leave, and lower-wage workers are the least likely to have access
Less than half the American workforce is eligible for unpaid leave under the Family Medical Leave Act
Paid leave could increase families’ incomes by over $28 billion
State-level data show that paid leave has positive impacts on business performance
Paid leave increases women’s labor force participation and attachment
Passing paid family and medical leave policies now will help ensure future economic growth

The Build Back Better legislation being considered by the House would provide 12 weeks of universal paid family and medical leave for all U.S. workers, a crucial policy to improve the economic security of families, support small businesses and increase economic growth. The need to take leave is inevitable over the course of a lifetime, whether to care for a new family member, as in the birth or adoption of a child, or to handle a personal health crisis, and yet the United States is the only OECD country that does not require paid leave for new mothers and is one of only two OECD countries that does not require paid medical leave.

This gap in coverage leaves families economically vulnerable and constricts the productive capacity of the U.S. economy because families lack the support to meet both their care needs and participate in the labor market.

Read the full brief here.