Roundtable: Paid Family Leave and Low-Income Families: Building On Evidence and Lessons Learned From State Programs
(Family and Child Policy)

Thursday, November 2, 2017: 10:15 AM-11:45 AM
Stetson BC (Hyatt Regency Chicago)

*Names in bold indicate Presenter

Roundtable Organizers:  Suma Setty, Columbia University
Moderators:  Suma Setty, Columbia University
Speakers:  Karen White, Rutgers University, Pamela Winston, U.S. Department of Health & Human Services and Nancy Rankin, Community Service Society

While the United States offers protections for eligible workers to take time off work to care for their own health, bond with a newborn, or care for a seriously ill family member, it remains one of the few industrialized countries without a national paid leave program. Such a program, however, appears more possible than ever with Donald Trump becoming the first Republican president to publicly support a national paid leave program. Unsurprisingly, policy makers on both sides of the aisle disagree as to the details on eligibility, implementation, and design - elements that affect who has access to and can take advantage of paid leave. In light of the national focus on paid leave, the purpose of this roundtable is to highlight the perspectives and experiences of multi-sector advocates and researchers from four states that have passed paid family leave laws to uncover barriers to implementation of and equitable access to paid leave programs. This roundtable presents a unique opportunity to explore these issues; these four states, California, New Jersey, Rhode Island, and New York, represent a range of political environments and populations and are in different stages of enacting their paid leave programs. The roundtable will begin with Dr. Pamela Winston, Senior Researcher at the U.S. Health and Human Services Department, and Dr. Karen White, Director of Working Families Program at the Center for Women and Work at Rutgers University, presenting their research on and experiences with California and New Jersey’s paid leave programs, respectively. As the most long-standing paid family leave programs in the U.S., with California’s implemented in 2004 and New Jersey’s in 2009, our presenters will shed light on lessons learned in early implementation of paid leave programs, particularly on barriers to paid leave and policy solutions to those barriers. Gayle Goldin, Rhode Island state senator and champion of the state’s Temporary Caregiver Insurance (TCI) program (implemented in 2014), will present insight into the types of research that allowed TCI to gain traction in the state as well as barriers to implementation and access. Nancy Rankin, the Vice President for Policy, Research, and Advocacy at Community Service Society, will discuss implementation and outreach plans for New York’s paid family leave program, which will begin in 2018. The discussion will also touch upon the following questions: How has each subsequent paid leave program used evidence from other states? What types of data are important in the conversations about passing, implementing, and sustaining paid family leave programs? What existing structures helped facilitate the passage of paid leave programs and its continued success (or lack thereof) in these states? Given the current policy environment, what types of evidence can states point to strengthen the case for a federal paid leave program? Roundtable participants will discuss policy opportunities at the state and federal levels for improving and maintaining paid leave programs with a focus on low-income working populations.

See more of: Family and Child Policy
See more of: Roundtable