MBPC Releases First in a Series of Reports on Paid Family and Medical Leave

Contacts:        Tara Jensen, 406-461-5782 tjensen@montanabudget.org

Today the Montana Budget and Policy Center, released the first in a series of reports about paid family and medical leave would help Montana workers, businesses, and the broader state economy.

As the vast majority of parents are working, this report highlights the need for workplace policies that help parents balance caregiving and career demands. This first report is an examination the evidence from state-initiated paid leave programs, and national studies to evaluate how paid leave benefits families, businesses, and the economy. Here is the complete report Paid Family and Medial Leave: Supporting Families, Businesses, and the Economy.

Findings from the report include:

Paid Leave Improves Working Families’ Financial Security and Health

  • Lack of access to paid leave creates financial burdens for any family, but particularly impacts single parents and those experiencing poverty.
  • The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) does not cover 40 percent of working Americans and only provides access to unpaid leave, an option that many working families cannot afford.
  • Paid leave helps women remain employed, earn more, and progress in their careers.
  • Paid leave establishes stronger bonds between fathers and children when fathers take even two weeks off after a child’s birth.
  • Newborns with parents who accessed paid leave are more likely to receive pediatric check-ups and immunizations, and children can have better cognitive and behavioral skills.
  • Paid leave allows working caregivers the ability to care for an adult relative without risking economic security.

Paid Leave Helps Businesses Attract and Retain Skilled Workers

  • At a time when tens of thousands of workers will be aging out of the Montana labor force, paid leave helps businesses remain competitive and strengthens the workforce.
  • Approximately 137,000 working Montanans are 55 years or older and are potentially considering retirement. Paid leave would help businesses attract and retain skilled workers as older Montanans leave the workforce.
  • Paid leave helps businesses save money through reduced employee turnover rates. To replace a worker earning $75,000 annually, an employer faces a potential cost equal to 30% of the original employee’s income to recruit and train a new replacement.
  • Paid leave increases the likelihood that employees will return to work after time off.
  • Employers with paid leave policies benefit from improved worker attitudes, which keep employees motivated and productive and businesses profitable.

Paid Leave Strengthens The Economy

  • Paid leave benefits society through increased work participation, lower public assistance use, and taxpayer savings.
  • Encouraging labor force participation among women and low-wage workers improves their financial security and helps stimulate local economies. Paid leave in Montana could keep tens of millions of dollars in the pockets of workers who will turn around and spend these dollars at local businesses, which stimulates the overall economy.
  • Family friendly policies could reduce public assistance use. Women with access to temporary disability insurance or paid family leave report receiving an average of $577 less in assistance income in the year following their child’s birth.

The Montana Budget and Policy Center (MBPC) is a nonprofit organization providing in-depth research and analysis on budget, tax, and economic issues. Our core focus is publishing credible, timely, and easy-to-understand reports on the fiscal policies that most impact low and moderate income Montanans. Our research and analysis then informs public policy, the media and the broader public. To learn more about MBPC, visit our website www.montanabudget.org.

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