May 18, 2008

Who Knew? Paid Family Leave

happy familyGood news for those of us juggling kids, careers, and aging parents!

Did you know that two states, California and New Jersey, now offer family members up to 6 weeks of paid time off to care for critically ill family members or to bond with newborns or newly adopted children (and Washington will offer up to 5 weeks off for parents of newborns and newly adopted children)?

The federal Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) permits family members to take up to 12 weeks of family leave without losing their jobs, but it's unpaid leave, and employers with fewer than 50 employees are exempt.

These state programs are great news for all of us struggling to balance work and family responsibilities. It's one thing to offer people the opportunity to take time off to care for their family -- but it's another thing altogether to be able to afford it. For more information about family medical leave in the other 47 states, go to

And for more information about the rules for the three states mentioned above, see Nolo's article Paid Family Leave in California, New Jersey, Washington, and the District of Columbia by Lisa Guerin, J.D.