It is proven that workplaces offering healthy family leave report more success in employee happiness, productivity and longevity. It makes sense--a workplace that invests in the wellbeing of its employees is a good and sound business model. Our country's lack of a unified family leave act continues to be a deep flaw, when the solution is so easy. States are left to interpret labor laws on their own, and many workers are left with no paid leave or job security for prolonged absences.
Massachusetts may join the ranks of New York, D.C., and California, with a statewide act that covers women and men for family medical leave. The distinction is critical: Family leave includes fathers, adoptive parents and same-sex parents, and includes medical needs outside of parenthood.
Which all sounds like a logical and welcome idea. So why do so few states adopt these laws? Because small and mid-size businesses are wary of the economic impact providing family leave will have on the bottom line. If businesses and governments grudgingly accept the requirement to provide benefits, why do they balk at, or stigmatize, paid family leave? Until we normalize the practice of the basic human necessity of time off, and take an arguably global look at parenthood and family leave policies, the state-by-state patchwork won't work for most families.