Family Leave Insurance: The Best $28 I Spent Last Year

Family Leave Insurance gives New Jersians good bang for the buck
Family Leave Insurance gives New Jersians good bang for the buck

God, I hate doing my taxes. But as I was compiling my receipts, 1099s and I040s, I saw something interesting on my Fairleigh Dickinson University W2 form. It was a listing of the amount deducted from my paychecks last year as part of New Jersey’s Family Leave Insurance program. It was all of $28.

New Jersey is one of three states (New York may be next!) to provide paid family and medical leave. And like California and Rhode Island, this benefit is funded through a small payroll deduction into a state-wide insurance fund. Simply put, everyone pays in a small amount, and then, when one needs a family-related (most commonly a maternity or paternity leave) or medical leave (care for self or for a family member), they can draw from this insurance fund for wage replacement of two-thirds of one’s income, up to $604 per week, during the 6-week leave.

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The Time is Right For the FAMILY Act- Paid Parental Leave

The FAMILY act would create a national policy of paid parental leave. Why I think this is a great idea.

I was extremely fortunate to spend the first few months of Nick's life at home. I hope that more dads become able to take paternity leave to have similar experiences
I was extremely fortunate to spend the first few months of Nick’s life at home. I hope that more dads become able to take paternity leave to have similar experiences

When I was on NPR last week (you can listen here) to discuss paternity leave, we took lots of great phone calls from listeners. Most callers lamented their lack of available paternity leave.

One caller, however, had lived in Montreal, where new dads are entitled to up to 5 weeks of paid leave, with wage replacement up to 70% of one’s earnings. It is no wonder that more than 80 percent of new dads in Quebec take paternity leave. (for more on the benefits of paternity leave, see here)

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Work-Family Legal Update (Viva Rhode Island!)

Rhode Island becomes the third state to require paid parental leave, and a bill that would support and protect employees who request flexibility and workplace family accommodations has been introduced to Congress. Here’s my analysis of these legal issues.

Viva Rhode Island for becoming the 3rd state with required paid parental leave
Viva Rhode Island for becoming the 3rd state with required paid parental leave

(Quick disclaimer: I am not a lawyer*)

It is no secret that the US is way behind all other industrialized countries in terms of work-family policy. As I reported last week:

As you can see in this chart, we’re one of 4 of 178 countries (and the only Western or industrialized nation) to not have a law mandating paid parental leave. US law only requires that a new parent can take up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave, and have their job held for them, through the Family and Medical Leave Act). Only three US states have mandated paid parental leave. Over 50 countries require paid paternity leave; the US, not so much.

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