- Women made up 56 percent of employees who took leave in the past year. The rate of leave taking among men has increased in small but steady increments in the 20 years since the FMLA was enacted.
- A majority of employees reported taking leave for their own illness (57 percent). Twenty-two percent said they took leave for reasons related to a new child (including pregnancy, birth, adoption or foster care), and 19 percent reported taking leave to care for a parent, spouse or child with a serious health condition.
- Most leaves were relatively short. Forty percent of workers reported they were away from work for 10 days or less; 70 percent were back at work within 40 days. Only women who took leave to care for a new child reported taking longer leaves, averaging about 58 days; men who took leave to care for a new child took average leaves of about 20 days.
- Two-thirds of workers (66 percent) reported receiving at least some pay while on leave. However, there are significant gaps that hurt middle and lower income families: 54 percent of workers in middle and lower income families (median family income less than $62,500 per year) reported that they did not receive any pay while on leave, compared to just 18 percent of workers in higher income families.
- Nearly half of workers who needed leave but did not take it (46 percent) said they were unable to afford unpaid leave. Nearly one-fifth (17 percent) were worried they might lose their jobs, despite the FMLA's guarantee of job protection.
- Women made up 64 percent of those who needed but did not take leave. Workers of Hispanic background, those who are not white, those with earnings below $35,000 per year and unmarried workers were more likely than their non-Hispanic, white, wealthier and married counterparts to need leave but not take it.
- 90 percent of worksites covered by the FMLA reported that compliance with the FMLA has had a "positive effect" or "no noticeable effect" on "employee productivity, absenteeism, career advancement and morale, as well as the business' profitability." More than one-third (37 percent) reported a positive effect.
20 Years Of Success: New Federal Study Finds Family And Medical Leave Act Has Worked Well For Workers, Businesses -- But 40 Percent Of Workers Not Covered, And Millions More Cannot Afford The Unpaid Leave The Law Provides
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