Paid Family Leave Benefits

Five states—California, Rhode Island, Washington, New Jersey, and New York—and the District of Columbia have laws that provide paid family leave for employees who need time off to care for sick or disabled family members or a new child. Except in the District of Columbia, payments (which are less than the employee's usual salary) come from a state insurance fund, not directly from employers.

These laws are the first to address a gap in family leave law. The federal Family and Medical Leave Act and similar state laws give covered employees the right to take leave for caretaking or parenting. However, that leave is unpaid. (To learn more about unpaid family leave, see Taking Family and Medical Leave.) And although some employers voluntarily provide paid time off for parenting and caregiving, most do not.

To fill this gap, the pioneering state of California passed a paid family leave law–and now, New Jersey, New York, Washington, Rhode Island, and Washington, D.C. have followed suit. Here are the details on these laws.