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Montgomery County to Present Findings of Paid-Leave Study

Advocates hope a grant program by the Obama administration will lead to a national paid family-leave program. (Mike Baca)
Advocates hope a grant program by the Obama administration will lead to a national paid family-leave program. (Mike Baca)
August 11, 2016

MONTGOMERY COUNTY, Md. — As part of the latest round of grants from the Obama administration, more money will be allocated to states, counties and cities across the country to study paid family-leave programs.

Only 13 percent of workers nationwide have access to paid family leave through the workplace, according to Sarah Fleisch Fink, director of workplace policy and senior counsel with the National Partnership for Women and Families. And only four in ten have it through short-term disability insurance.

"Many women are going back to work within weeks, if not shorter amounts of time, of giving birth to a child,” Fleish Fink said; “you know, before they even have gotten doctors' clearance that they have recovered and are ready to go back to work, or to engage in regular daily activities."

Maryland's Montgomery County received funding for similar research last year and will present its findings to the U.S. Department of Labor next month. The ultimate goal is to advance a national paid-leave standard.

In this round of grants, just over $1 million is being split between Indiana, Pennsylvania, and cities or counties in Colorado, Ohio and Wisconsin.

This is the third year the grants have been awarded, Fleish Fink said, but there's no indication of whether they will continue once a new president takes office.

"We hope that the research that they have funded and the work that's being done sees progress across the country,” she said, “as some of the research that is done in these states can be beneficial to other states."

California, New Jersey and Rhode Island are the only states with paid family-leave programs. In 2016, New York adopted a paid family-leave program to be phased in beginning in 2018.

Some cities and counties around the country have put family-leave programs in place for government workers.

Veronica Carter, Public News Service - MD