Family and Medical Leave Insurance: Responsible Choices, Healthy Families

Issue Brief | October 20, 2012

Executive Summary

Welcoming a new child, fighting cancer, caring for an aging parent – a handful of times in life, we all need to take significant time off work to care for ourselves or our families.

But too many Washington workers face an impossible choice: return to work, sacrificing family health and well-being – or give up economic security.

Several states have successfully responded to this problem by creating Family and Medical Leave Insurance.

By partly replacing lost wages when it really counts, FMLI benefits:

Children: With a majority of parents in the workforce, FMLI helps strengthen family bonds, increase the duration of breastfeeding, and improve children’s health and social development.

School readiness: A child’s first and best teacher is his or her parent. FMLI is step one of any comprehensive early learning system, and is essential to every child’s educational success.

Seniors: FMLI makes it easier for adult children to care for their aging parents, instead of relying on an expensive nursing home.

Businesses: Studies show paid family leave increases worker retention. FMLI also boosts morale, worker productivity, customer satisfaction – and profits.

Women: The gender wage gap widens with age, especially during child-bearing and sandwich generation years, creating lifelong economic insecurity for women even in retirement. FMLI helps expand work opportunities and level the playing field.

Social justice: Low-income workers and people of color are especially unlikely to have access to paid leave benefits. Research shows that Latina and African American women significantly lengthened maternity leaves following implementation of California’s paid family leave program.

Washington: FMLI improves worker health and frees up public funds by helping families avoid public assistance, promoting family care for seniors instead of more expensive facilities, and giving all kids a strong and healthy start in life.


Full Issue Brief >

Posted in Paid Family and Medical Leave