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Employer Leave Helps the Parents of Chronically Ill Kids

e parents, however, 40 percent admitted returning to work before their child's health improved. Of those who went back to work before their child was better, more than 60 percent said they returned because they needed the pay.

Almost half of adults reported that at least once in the past year they could not miss work at all even though their children needed them. Of those parents, more than 70 percent reported that they would have missed work if they had received at least some pay during their time off.

Parents who were aware of their eligibility for Family and Medical Leave benefits, had access to employer-provided leave, or had access to paid leave were more likely than other parents to miss work to care for their children.

After the study was conducted, California implemented the Paid Family Leave Insurance program, which uses a statewide payroll tax to provide up to six weeks of partial pay for employees to care for ill family members. This first-in-the-nation paid family leave program is being closely watched as a potential model for other states and the federal government.

Paid Family Leave Insurance is a major attempt at change and California is the only state right now to have it, said Chung. However, what effects it will actually have on families and businesses are still very unclear.

The RAND Health study recommends: Evaluating the potential impact of expanding eligibility for the Family and Medical Leave Act and educating more employees about these benefits.
Examining the likely effects on families and businesses when access to employer-provided or state-provided leave benefits is increased.
. Assessing the long-term effects of California's Paid Family Leave Insurance and similar programs in other states.

Funding for this study was provided by RAND through support from its philanthropic donors and income from operations; the Centers for Disease Control and Preventio
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