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Issue Brief

Estimating Usage and Costs of Alternative Policies to Provide Paid Family and Medical Leave in the United States

Title
Estimating Usage and Costs of Alternative Policies to Provide Paid Family and Medical Leave in the United States
Date
January 2017
Author(s)
Jeff Hayes, Ph.D., Dallas Elgin, Ph.D., Ye Zhang, Ph.D., Sandeep Shetty, Ph.D., Jessica Smith, MPP
Market
Workforce Development
Education
Services
Policy/Program Analysis
Applied Research Studies
Methodologies
Cost-benefit Analysis
Simulation
Survey Analysis

This issue brief summarizes a simulation analysis of five different paid family and medical leave model programs based on working programs in three states and a federal proposal, all applied to the national workforce.

The analysis simulates worker behavior and estimates how many paid leaves would be taken under each model, the average weekly benefit level for each leave, and the total costs of the benefits paid. The analysis estimates the cost of benefits in dollars and as a share of total payroll for the nation as a whole and across industries and establishments of different sizes.

A national policy of paid family and medical leave would fill a large existing gap in American workers’ income security. Most workers lack sufficient paid time off reserved for substantial family and medical needs. Compared with other countries with similar wealth, the United States lags far behind in the amount of paid time available to workers to take care of their own health needs and those of their families.