Report finds leave insurance program successfully reaches working families

Report finds leave insurance program successfully reaches working families

In 2009, New Jersey became one of only two states in the country to enact a family leave insurance law.

In a new report, "Policy in Action: New Jersey's Family Leave Insurance Program at Age Three," researchers at Rutgers' Center for Women and Work (CWW) assessed public awareness of New Jersey's family leave insurance program and the law's implementation and usage employing data from the state's Department of Labor and Workforce Development. 

"This report highlights the high levels of need for paid family leave and the limited awareness and use of the program," said Linda Houser, CWW affiliate fellow and assistant professor at Widener University. "Workers commonly experience events for which they need leave, but link decisions to concerns about . These same workers often do not know they have an option for paid leave." 

Despite low of the program, more than 100,000 claims have been approved to date – 80% to provide time to bond with a newborn or newly adopted child and the remaining fifth to care for a seriously ill family member.

The state's Family Leave Insurance program helps workers afford to the take the unpaid leave they are guaranteed under the 1993 Family and Medical Leave Act to bond with a new child or care for a seriously ill family member. In 2002, California became the first state in the nation to provide paid family leave insurance to workers.

Additional findings include:

  • Bonding claims from women comprised the majority of FLI claims in 2011 (72.5%). 
  • Men's share of caregiving claims was lowest at ages 45 to 54 (22.5%) and ages 55 to 64 (20.3%), which are considered peak earning years, when the persistent gap between men's and women's may impact decision making about who takes even a partially wage-replaced leave.
  • The average weekly benefit has not kept pace with . In 2011 dollars, weekly benefits dropped from $493 to $482 since 2009.
  • Those most likely to need family leave were also least likely to be aware of the program, particularly adults with less than a high school degree (36.8%), black adults (36.3%), and adults earning less than $25,000 a year.
  • Recommendations include expanded outreach efforts to ensure all workers, especially low-wage workers, know about FLI and how to access benefits.
"New Jersey's experience clearly demonstrates that it is possible a strong paid leave option in place that benefits families," says Karen White, director of CWW's Working Families Program. "The recommendations in this report can also serve as a guide to other states."

More information:… 201-31%20release.pdf

Related Stories

Study: paid family leave leads to positive economic outcomes

date Jan 19, 2012

With a growing need for family-friendly workplace policies, a new study commissioned by the National Partnership for Women & Families, with support from the Rockefeller Foundation, concludes that providing paid family leave ...

Report: Family and medical leave law working

date Feb 05, 2013

(AP)—The Labor Department says just 16 percent of eligible workers took time off last year under the Family and Medical Leave Act to recover from an illness, care for a new child or tend to a sick relative.

AAP endorses parental leave for pediatric residents

date Jan 29, 2013

(HealthDay)—The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) advocates that all interns, residents, and fellows should have parental leave benefits consistent with the Family Medical Leave Act during pediatric ...

Lack of sick leave creates tough choices for rural workers

date Jul 11, 2011

Rural workers have less access to sick leave, forcing them to choose between caring for themselves or family members, and losing pay or perhaps even their jobs when faced with an illness, according to new research from the ...

More children in Europe with Swedish family policy

date Oct 04, 2011

European politicians who want women to have more children should consider the Swedish model with subsidised child care and paid parental leave. This is the conclusion of a new doctoral thesis from the University of Gothenburg.

Recommended for you

Noise from fireworks threatens young ears

date Jul 03, 2015

(HealthDay)—The Fourth of July weekend is a time for celebrations and beautiful fireworks displays. But, parents do need to take steps to protect their children's ears from loud fireworks, a hearing expert ...

Many new teen drivers 'crash' in simulated driving task

date Jul 03, 2015

(HealthDay)—Around four in 10 newly licensed teen drivers "crashed" in a simulated driving test, suggesting that many adolescents lack the skills they need to stay safe on the road, according to a new study.

Feeling impulsive or frustrated? Take a nap

date Jul 03, 2015

Taking a nap may be an effective strategy to counteract impulsive behavior and to boost tolerance for frustration, according to a University of Michigan study.

User comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.