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Indiana on Receiving End of Paid-Leave Grant

Only 13 percent of American workers have access to paid family leave through the workplace. (Alyssa Banks)
Only 13 percent of American workers have access to paid family leave through the workplace. (Alyssa Banks)
August 11, 2016

INDIANAPOLIS – Indiana is getting a grant to study paid family leave programs.

It's the latest round of money being handed out by the Obama administration to states, counties and cities.

Sarah Fleisch Fink, director of workplace policy and senior counsel for the National Partnership for Women and Families, says only 13 percent of workers in the U.S. have access to paid family leave through their workplace, and only 4 in 10 have it through short term disability insurance.

She says this kind of assistance can benefit the health of mothers and babies.

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

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

The idea is for each to come up with the best ways it would implement a paid leave program, then present its findings to the U.S. Department of Labor with the ultimate goal of advancing a national paid leave standard.

Fleish Fink says this is the third year the grants have been awarded, 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, as some of the research that is done in these states can be beneficial to other states," she states.

California, New Jersey and Rhode Island are the only states with paid family leave programs.

This year, New York adopted a paid family leave program that will 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 - IN