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The nonsensical coverage of the debate over paid leave continues. Apparently, opposing a federal paid leave program is the equivalent of being anti-family or pro-suffering, or so we're told. We rarely get information about the full consequences of such a policy.
What kinds of employment leave options do workers use the most? Who exactly doesn't have paid leave currently? Are there legitimate reasons for an employer not to provide it? Or, would a government program target only those workers who do not currently have employer-provided paid leave? These are some of the questions that are rarely asked by those who insist that our government impose a sweeping new program.
Let me try. On average, 15 percent of workers will take paid family or medical leave annually. As the Heritage Foundation's Rachel Greszler noted in congressional testimony, "Surveys show that virtually all workers who have a need for leave take it, and nearly three out of every four who take leave receive full or partial pay."
Considering the media's general coverage of the issue, I wouldn't blame you for not knowing this fact.
In recent years, most of the attention has gone to parental leave. However, you might not know that this is only one of four different types of leave options available to workers. While parental leave is the easiest to plan for, as Greszler notes, "more than half of all leaves are taken by workers based on their own medical needs, with the remaining quarter taken by workers to care for family members. Many of those leaves can be unpredictable and require varying lengths of leave."
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