20+ Essential US Paid Family Leave Statistics [2023]: Quick Facts And Findings

By Chris Kolmar
Oct. 31, 2022
Fact Checked
Cite This Webpage Zippia. "20+ Essential US Paid Family Leave Statistics [2023]: Quick Facts And Findings" Zippia.com. Oct. 31, 2022, https://www.zippia.com/advice/paid-family-leave-statistics/

Research Summary. Illness can strike at any moment, often impacting an individual’s ability to earn a paycheck if they’re also required to care for themselves or a family member effectively. Our research found that:

  • Only 23% of private-sector workers have access to paid family leave in order to care for a new child or family member, as of 2022.

  • 42% of private-sector workers had access to short-term disability insurance to recover from an illness or injury.

  • 12 states mandate paid family leave for employees.

  • 77% of all individuals taking paid family leave are white.

  • 90% of businesses say that paid family leave improves productivity, and 99% say it improves employee morale.

For further analysis, we broke down the data in the following ways:
State | Industry | Demographics | Public Opinion | Data
family leave by gender

General Paid Family Leave Statistics

The necessity of paid family leave is important for serious health conditions, whether for yourself or a family member. Paid family leave can also be used to care for a new child, whether by birth or adoption. However, paid family leave in the United States is an underutilized benefit by many. Consider the following statistics:

  • Based on data from the 2018 Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), 24% of women require leave compared to 17% of men.

    This could be due to mothers often being looked at as being the caretaker of children or even elderly parents. This impacts how many actually take leave from their job, with 18% of women taking leave compared to just 14% of men.

  • Under California’s paid leave law, those with access to paid leave demonstrate an approximately 20% increase in the probability of labor force participation.

    The data here is limited as only ten U.S. states and localities have implemented programs for paid family leave within their states, but it’s safe to say paid leave is a great incentive for labor force participation.

  • In states with paid family leave, 20% fewer women leave their jobs in the first year after having a baby.

    In these same markets, workforce retention jumps to 50% in the five years following a new child. States without family leave found that almost 30% of women will drop out of the workforce within a year after welcoming a child, and one in five of those women will not return for over a decade.

Only 1 in 5 employees has access to paid family leave to care for a new child

Unfortunately, only ten states in the United States offer paid family leave. Each state’s requirements are different, and the paid leave you may receive might differ based on your company, salary, and your state’s minimum wage requirements.

  • As of July 2021, only ten states in the United States mandate paid family leave for employees.

    These states include Rhode Island, California, New Jersey, New York, Washington DC, Washington, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Oregon, and Colorado.

  • Oregon is the most generous state, providing 100% of a worker’s average weekly wages up to an amount equal to 65% of the statewide average weekly wage.

    Connecticut follows close behind, offering 95% of a worker’s average weekly wage up to an amount equal to 40 times the state minimum wage and 60% of a worker’s average weekly wage above an amount equal to 40 times the state minimum wage.

  • New York is one of the least generous states, offering 50% of a worker’s average weekly wage for the employee’s health and 67% of a worker’s average weekly wage for family leave.

    California and Rhode Island follow close behind, both offering about 60% of a worker’s average weekly wage.

Although the ability to have paid family leave typically varies by state, it’s also sometimes dependent on the type of company you’re with. Depending on their size or industry, some companies are more likely to offer paid family leave than others. Consider the following statistics:

  • Only 13% of small businesses with fewer than 50 employees offer employer-provided paid family leave.

    For businesses with 100 or more workers, about 26% of businesses offer this benefit. Of businesses with 500 workers or more, only 31% provided paid family leave options.

  • Access to Paid Family Leave by Company Size

    Size of Company % With Access to Paid Family Leave % With Access to Unpaid Family Leave
    1 to 49 workers 13% 81%
    50 to 99 workers 19% 90%
    100 to 499 workers 22% 95%
    500 workers or more 31% 94%
  • The technology sector leads the private sector in offering parental leave, with 30% of tech workers receiving access to paid family leave.

    This number is nearly triple what it is in other industries.

    Other industries following suit include the financial sector, with companies like Bank of America, Merrill Lynch, and Citi offering over 12 weeks of paid parental leave.

  • Traditional blue color jobs remain the weakest for paid family leave, with just under 10% of those working in service, manufacturing, farming, or construction receiving paid family leave.

    This number has remained stagnant since 2011.

Access to Paid Family Leave by Industry

Industry % With Access to Paid Family Leave % With Access to Unpaid Family Leave
Information 47% 92%
Finance & Insurance 40% 97%
Real Estate 13% 93%
Professional & Business Services 23% 86%
Professional & Technical Services 33% 90%
Administrative & Waste Services 8% 79%
Educational Services 24% 87%
Health Care & Social Assistance 26% 91%
Leisure & Hospitality 9% 80%

The necessity of paid family leave may vary depending on an employee’s demographics. For example, individuals of a certain age, parental status, and whether they are single parents can impact the need for paid family leave. Consider the following statistics:

  • 77% of all individuals taking paid family leave are white.

    Compared to just 13% of African Americans and 6% of Asian individuals, this is a stark difference in terms of opportunity.

  • The average age of individuals taking paid family leave is 42 years old.

    This could be due to a rising age of having children and hitting the age where many elderly parents may need some sort of assistance regarding their health.

  • Although an equal percentage receive full pay compared to partnered women, only 20% of single women receive partial pay as compared to 33% of their partnered colleagues.

    52% of single women receive no pay as compared to 33% of partnered women. This discrepancy is driven largely by those taking long leaves over 41 days.

    single vs. partnered female family leave

  • Among those single women who receive less than full pay, 50% report that it is “much more difficult” to make ends meet while on leave, as compared to 24% of partnered colleagues.

    Interestingly enough, 49% of partnered women report it is “somewhat more difficult” versus 26% of single women. Additionally, only 31% of single women have savings put aside for leave, whereas 49% of partnered women do.

Public Opinion on Paid Family Leave

The public opinion on paid family leave is positive, no matter the individual’s political affiliation. Many employees and a growing number of employers are starting to see the benefits providing paid family leave can provide for them and their businesses.

  • Nearly 60% of small business owners reported being interested in providing paid family leave benefits of all leave types.

    Fewer than one-third of surveyed executives said they were not interested in providing family leave for their employees.

    In this same survey, over 60% of executives also believe offering paid family leave would have a positive impact on employee morale, retention, and attraction of new talent.

  • After hearing a description of the national FMLA and that it provides unpaid leave, 82% of voters felt it needed to be updated to provide paid leave.

    A majority of voters also said they were more likely to vote for candidates who publicly support national paid family and medical leave policies.

  • A 2018 paid leave survey by the Cato Institute found that 54% of Americans would be willing to pay $200 a year in higher taxes for a 12-week federal paid leave program.

    Four in ten Americans would also support a federal 12-week paid leave policy, even if it means the national deficit would increase.

    38% of voters think the best way to fund a national paid family leave policy is through employers and employees sharing the costs. In the same survey, 70% of voters said they would be willing to contribute one cent per every dollar towards a national leave program.

Paid family leave can offer a wide variety of benefits to individuals and families. For example, this may allow workers to pursue medical treatment earlier or continue ongoing treatment for an illness or ailment. For example:

  • 59% of cancer patients, survivors, and their caregivers reported that having paid family leave made a difference in allowing the patient to complete their treatment.

    56% reported that paid leave helped the patient more easily attend doctor or treatment appointments. 50% reported that paid leave makes it easier for them to manage their symptoms or side effects.

  1. What is the Family and Medical Leave Act?

    The Family and Medical Leave Act, also known as FMLA, is a government-provided benefit that allows certain employees with up to 12 weeks of unpaid, job-protected leave per year. It requires that the employee’s health benefits remain in effect during this time. Employers must provide an eligible employee with this leave for any of these reasons:

    • The birth and care of a newborn child of the employee.

    • For placement with the employee’s child for adoption or foster care.

    • To care for an immediate family member such as a spouse, child, or parent who has a serious health issue.

    • To take medical leave when the employee is unable to work due to a serious health issue.

  2. What percentage of Americans support paid family leave?

    82% of Americans say they support paid family leave. 82% of surveyed voters said that they felt the national FMLA needed to be updated to include paid family and medical leave, not just unpaid. More than half of these voters also said they’d vote for candidates who would push for this to happen.

    Another survey revealed that over half of Americans would be willing to pay higher taxes if it meant having a federal paid leave program. More specifically, 54% of survey respondents said they’d be willing to pay $200 more a year in taxes for such a program.

    40% of that same surveyed group said they’d be in favor of raising the national deficit if that’s what it took to have a national paid leave policy, and 70% said they’d willingly contribute one cent on every dollar toward funding such a program.

  3. What percentage of Americans have paid family leave?

    23% of American private-sector workers have paid family leave. That means just under 1 in 4 people who are a part of the U.S. private-sector workforce is provided time off with pay to care for a new child or an ill family member.

    The federal government leaves laws concerning this, as with many issues, up to individual states, and only Washington DC and 12 out of 50 states require companies to provide paid family leave for their employees. These states are California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, Oregon, Rhode Island, Washington DC, Washington, and Wisconsin.

    Large companies are more likely to offer paid family leave than smaller companies are, as only 13% of organizations with less than 50 employees offer paid family leave, while 31% of those with 500 or more employees offer it. In addition, 30% of companies in the technology sector offer paid family leave, by far the most of any industry.

  4. How many countries have paid family leave?

    Over 120 countries have paid family leave. These countries have laws mandating paid maternity leave and some health benefits, and almost all industrialized countries are a part of this list except Australia, New Zealand, and the United States.

    The Czech Republic has the most government-mandated paid maternity leave at 28 weeks, and Hungary is close behind with 24 weeks. Italy offers five months, while Canada provides 17 weeks and Spain and Romania each give 16 weeks.

    Paid maternity and family leave are vital to many women around the world, as they provide the main income for 30% of the world’s households and a significant portion of the income for many more: 59% of European working women account for at least half of their household income, for example.

    In the U.S., the federal government only mandates 12 weeks of unpaid maternity leave, ensuring women can have sufficient time to care for their newborns without being forced to quit their jobs, but states have the option to mandate that if they want to (only ten do currently, including Washington DC).

  5. Is paid family leave paid by employers?

    Whether or not paid family leave is paid by the employer depends on the state, but in most cases, no. For instance, in California or Connecticut the cost is paid entirely by employees, who pay part of their paycheck toward the benefit each time they get paid.

    On the other hand, some states have opted to split the cost. In Delaware and Colorado, for example, the cost will be split 50/50 between employer and employee. Likewise, the only state where employees will be doing most of the heavy lifting is Washington, where the cost is split with employees paying 26.78% and employers 73.22%.


The United States is currently the only industrialized nation without any guaranteed paid leave for its workers. With over three-quarters of surveyed employees in support of paid family and medical leave, it’s time for the rest of the United States to catch up to the ten state leaders.

Paid family leave is an incredible benefit for both employee and employer and important to meet the needs of American workers and families.


  1. Abt Associates. “Gender Differences in Needing and Taking Leave.” Accessed on August 23, 2021.

  2. Washington Center for Equitable Growth. “Factsheet: What does the research say about the economics of paid leave?” Accessed on August 23, 2021.

  3. The Standard. “How PFL Laws Help Women Stay in the Workforce.” Accessed on August 23, 2021.

  4. A Better Balance. “Comparative Chart of Paid Family and Medical Leave Laws in the United States.” Accessed on August 24, 2021.

  5. U.S. Department of Labor. “National Compensation Survey: Employee Benefits in the United States, March 2020.” Accessed on August 24, 2021.

  6. Chicago Tribune. “Best and worst industries for paid family leave.” Accessed on August 24, 2021.

  7. Bipartisan Policy Center. “Key Takeaways from BPC’s Survey of Small Business Views on Paid Family Leave.” Accessed August 24, 2021.

  8. The Opportunity Agenda. “Public Opinion About Paid Family and Medical Leave.” Accessed August 24, 2021.

  9. Public Opinion Strategies. “Key Findings – National Surveys of Cancer Patients, Survivors, and Caregivers.” Accessed August 24, 2021.

  10. U.S. Department of Labor. “Family and Medical Leave (FMLA).” Accessed August 24, 2021.

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Chris Kolmar

Chris Kolmar is a co-founder of Zippia and the editor-in-chief of the Zippia career advice blog. He has hired over 50 people in his career, been hired five times, and wants to help you land your next job. His research has been featured on the New York Times, Thrillist, VOX, The Atlantic, and a host of local news. More recently, he's been quoted on USA Today, BusinessInsider, and CNBC.

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