This year has brought some major advances in state paid family and medical leave laws across the country. Most notably, Massachusetts passed a groundbreaking paid family and medical leave law this year that will start providing benefits in 2021 and will cover nearly all private sector employees. The law offers 12 weeks of job-protected leave to bond with a new child, care for a seriously ill loved one, or address the impact of a family member’s military deployment. The Massachusetts law is the first state law in the nation to allow workers to take job-protected paid time off (up to 20 weeks) for their own serious health needs. A Better Balance played an integral role in drafting and advancing this landmark legislation and we are excited that workers in Massachusetts will soon have access to benefits when they need them.
California expanded its paid leave law this year to provide benefits to workers so they can take time off to address needs arising out of their loved one’s military service. We are proud to have worked with partners like the National Military Family Association and the California Work & Family Coalition to pass this important expansion. We have also been working closely with advocates in New Jersey who are working to expand their paid family leave law to cover a wider range of family members, raise benefit levels, and expand access to job protection.
On January 1st of this year, benefits became available under New York’s paid family leave law. As a leading member of the coalition that fought for and won passage of this law, we are thrilled to see New York join the handful of states that have passed paid family leave laws. Through our free and confidential legal hotline, we helped hundreds of workers learn out about their paid family leave rights and access the benefits they need.
In Washington, D.C. and Washington State, we are working closely with our partners on the ground as they move forward with implementation of their paid family and medical leave laws, which will begin providing benefits in 2020. Several other states have moved paid leave legislation forward this year and look to return to this issue next year.
We are proud to advise and support coalitions across the country that have passed or are working to pass paid family and medical leave laws and we commend our partners’ efforts pushing this legislation on the ground.
We will continue to be a critical resource for coalitions across the country that wish to join the growing ranks of states that provide paid family and medical leave to their workers. We won’t stop fighting until all workers across the country have the paid family and medical leave they need.