Family Forward Policies

Family and Medical Leave

Family and medical leave allows employees to take paid time off to care for a long-term medical issue for themselves, their children, or a loved one or to address needs during a long-term absence from work, such as a military deployment.

Benefits to Employers1

  • Increases productivity Does not impact profits
  • Increases retention, reducing turnover costs
  • Reduces employee absenteeism
  • Provides healthier work environment
  • Reduces health care costs
  • Workers recover from disability, illness, or injury more quickly
  • Increases loyalty

Benefits to Children2

  • Encourages use of preventative health care
  • Children recover more quickly from illness and injury when parents are available to care for them

Benefits to Parents/Families3

  • Encourages use of preventative health care
  • Workers recover from disability, illness, or injury more quickly

Research or Recommendations from National Organizations

While it does not provide a recommended amount, the American Medical Association strongly encourages private employers to offer paid sick and medical leave and allow employees to use that leave to care for children when they are sick or injured.4

The duration of paid leave that is necessary for employees to care for themselves, their child or a loved one, during a long-term illness or injury varies greatly, according to the World Policy Center:5

  • For personal medical leave, six months is important to cover severe illnesses, such as cancer that requires chemotherapy and/or radiation treatment. However, some workers may be able to return to work part-time or intermittently while undergoing treatments, and leave can be shorter for less serious injuries or illnesses.
  • Paid personal medical leave should also be made available on a part-time and intermittent basis for workers
    in the chronic phases to encourage follow-up and ongoing care.
  • For children, parental presence is important for the full duration of the illness; however, during periods of recovery, this care can be split between parents or other close caregivers. Employers should work with employees to determine an optimal schedule of paid time off based on the child’s illness or injury.

Range of Practices in the United States

Just 15 percent of workers have access to paid leave to care for their own long-term illness or the long-term illness of a child.6

As of 2015, federal contractors must provide at least seven days of paid sick and family medical leave to employees for preventative care, an existing health condition, illness or injury.

The US is one of the few developed, industrialized nations that does not require paid family and medical leave by federal law.

Twenty-eight percent of private industry workers and 70 percent of public industry workers have access to paid military leave.7

Under NC law, employers are required to offer unpaid leave for employees called into active or emergency military duty. The statute does not specify how much leave may be taken, but the amount of leave is typically determined by the length of the employee’s military service. Paid leave is not required.

Case Study

Deloitte

Location: Offices in Charlotte, Raleigh, Morrisville • Year Founded: 1845 • Number of Employees: Over 84,000

Consulting firm Deloitte, with offices in Raleigh, Charlotte and Morrisville, recruits approximately 20,000 employees each year.

That means Deloitte is constantly evaluating ways to attract and retain talent. According to Supporting Working Caregivers: Case Studies of Promising Practices, a 2017 report from the ReACT Coalition, Deloitte discovered that “flexibility to meet both professional and personal demands emerged as a key factor in both recruitment and retention, particularly for high performers, and employee surveys revealed that eldercare—which requires flexibility—was increasingly among their personal responsibilities.”

With CEO Cathy Engelbert’s support, the company expanded its family leave program in September 2016, allowing all full-time employees to take up to 16 weeks of paid time off annually for caregiving for new children and other family members, including aging parents. Employees may use the time all at once or periodically throughout the year.

“Flexibility to meet both professional and personal demands emerged as a key factor in both recruitment and retention, particularly for high performers.”

In addition to paid leave, Deloitte provides 30 days of subsidized emergency backup dependent care, which includes adult relatives of employees, and the company also provide consultations for employees regarding eldercare needs, along with referrals to providers, coaching to help manage and navigate complicated systems and programs, and therapy for the stress that may accompany caregiving responsibilities.

Show 7 footnotes
  1. North Carolina Early Childhood Foundation. “The Research Basis for Family-Friendly Workplaces.” June 14, 2018. https://files.familyforwardnc.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/04/NCECF_FFNC-policyfactsheet-061418.pdf.
  2. North Carolina Early Childhood Foundation. “The Research Basis for Family-Friendly Workplaces.” June 14, 2018. https://files.familyforwardnc.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/04/NCECF_FFNC-policyfactsheet-061418.pdf.
  3. North Carolina Early Childhood Foundation. “The Research Basis for Family-Friendly Workplaces.” June 14, 2018. https://files.familyforwardnc.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/04/NCECF_FFNC-policyfactsheet-061418.pdf.
  4. American Medical Association. “AMA Recognizes Public Health Benefits of Paid Sick Leave.” June 15, 2016. https://www.ama-assn.org/ama-recognizes-public-health-benefits-paid-sick-leave.
  5. World Policy Analysis Center. “A Review of the Evidence on Length of Paid Family and Medical Leave.” February 2018. https://www.worldpolicycenter.org/sites/default/files/WORLD%20Brief%20-%20Length%20Paid%20Family%20and%20Medical%20Leave.pdf.
  6. U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics. “Employee Benefits in the United States National Compensation Survey: Employee Benefits in the United States.” March 2017. https://www.bls.gov/ncs/ebs/benefits/2017/ebbl0061.pdf.
  7. U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics. “Access to paid military leave in 2018.” November 30, 2018. https://www.bls.gov/opub/ted/2018/access-to-paid-military-leave-in-2018.htm