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State Paid Family Leave Laws Across the U.S.

Thirteen states and the District of Columbia have enacted mandatory paid family leave systems. An additional eight states have voluntary systems that provide paid family leave through private insurance. Of the 22 total state leave laws, 18 have been implemented and the remaining are not yet in effect. Most of these state laws provide parental and family caregiving leave as well as temporary disability insurance to cover paid personal medical leave.

Mandatory Laws

Thirteen states and the District of Columbia have established comprehensive, mandatory state paid family leave systems. All but one use a social insurance policy design that funds these benefits through pooled payroll taxes on employees and/or employers. The states using a social insurance program are California, Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Jersey, Rhode Island, Washington, Colorado, Delaware, Maine, Maryland, Minnesota, and Oregon, as well as the District of Columbia

Meanwhile, New York provides paid leave using a mandatory private insurance system. The state requires employers to purchase paid family and medical leave plans from a private insurance market where insurance companies, including the state-run New York Insurance Fund, offer coverage. The New York state government oversees and strictly regulates the system, determining benefit levels and premium rates.

Voluntary Laws

In contrast, eight states adopted voluntary paid family leave systems by allowing the provision of the benefit in the private insurance market. Within this group, six states adopted a legislative blueprint endorsed by the National Council of Insurance Legislators (NCOIL), which permits the sale of paid family leave insurance.

The remaining two states, New Hampshire and Vermont, also allow the provision of voluntary private insurance plans, but the state government plays a more proactive role in establishing the private market. In particular, they contract with a single insurance carrier to provide a base plan for the state. To establish a risk pool, those states purchased coverage for all state employees.

Job Protection

The federal Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) guarantees most workers at companies with at least 50 employees access to unpaid, job-protected parental, family caregiver, personal medical, and military exigency leave. Some states expanded job protection as part of their paid family leave program while others left job protection for leave-takers as it is under FMLA. For a full list of state job protection laws, see the State Family and Medical Leave and Job-Protection Laws explainer.

The map below shows the status of state-level paid family leave policies and programs, and the table outlines the basic features of the paid family leave laws that have been enacted.

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Features of State PFL Programs


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