How a National Paid Leave Policy Will Benefit the Economy

Equity, Healthcare, Public Policy

Washington, D.C. – Today the TIME’S UP Foundation released a report, Paid Leave Pays Dividends: How a National Paid Leave Policy Will Benefit the Economy, that models how a national paid leave plan would boost national income, enabling recipients of paid leave to spend money on goods and services, thereby creating jobs in the industries that need it most.

The report shows that public investment in paid family and medical leave — which can cover working people’s time away from their jobs to care for a new child, family member, or one’s own health — has the potential to address several aspects of this multifaceted crisis and support an equitable and robust economic recovery.

“In the U.S. we often think about caregiving as an individual responsibility, but this report shows that bold public investments can benefit everyone by helping the economy,” said Anwesha Majumder, Associate Director of Data Analysis at TIME’S UP Foundation.

A national paid leave policy would combat inequality by benefiting systematically marginalized individuals, address structural barriers that prevent caregivers from working for pay, and protect public and individual health by allowing people to care for themselves and others when serious health issues arise.

Key Findings

The TIME’S UP Foundation modeled the effects of a national paid leave plan as proposed by President Biden’s American Families Plan and Ways and Means Chairman Richard Neal’s Building an Economy for Families Act. Their research found that a national paid leave policy would:

  • Directly stimulate the economy. An additional 18 million people, or 11.3% of the civilian labor force, would take leave each year under a national paid leave plan, adding $19.1 billion in national income from wage replacement.
  • Especially benefit women, people of color, and low-wage workers. Women comprise 52.7% of those who would use paid leave under this plan, while they are 47% of the labor force. Black women are 8.5% of new leave-takers, while they are 6.5% of the labor force. Women in low-wage jobs (defined as workers earning below $15 an hour) are 27.2% of new leave-takers, while they are 23.8% of all workers.
  • Generate economic growth. The $19.1 billion in wage replacement from the national plan will create 162,000 new jobs, enabling workers who are not directly benefiting from paid leave to earn an additional $9.4 billion in income. Notably, some of the industries that will see the most job creation include food services, ambulatory health care services and hospitals, and retail, all of which are major employers of women and people of color across the United States.



TIME’S UP Foundation

The TIME’S UP™ Foundation insists upon safe, fair, and dignified work for all by changing culture, companies, and laws. We enable more people to seek justice through the TIME’S UP Legal Defense Fund™. We pioneer innovative research driving toward solutions to address systemic inequality and injustice in the workplace through the TIME’S UP Impact Lab. And we reshape key industries from within so they serve as a model for all industries. The TIME’S UP Foundation is a 501(c)(3) charitable organization.