The Opt-Out Mechanism for Paid Family and Medical Leave Insurance: Could it Work?

Grant Type: doctoral

Grant Year: 2018

Grant Amount: $35,000

Grant description:

This project seeks to determine the feasibility of a paid family and medical leave insurance (PFMLI) program with an opt-out mechanism. While state PFMLI programs in the United States vary somewhat in program parameters, all essentially require eligible workers to participate and are funded through payroll contributions. Some allow employers to self-insure and opt out of the public program. Generally, employees do not have that option. But proposed legislation in New Hampshire would create a program that contains an employee opt-out mechanism. There is a large gap in understanding of this design choice. Which individuals would opt out? And which would opt out initially and then opt in later? And how would that interact with the employer self-insurance opt-out? The answers have lasting implications for the cost of the program, the level of benefits that can be offered, the possibility of implicit or explicit bias against low-wage women workers of reproductive age, and the ultimate success of the program. The researcher will create, distribute, and analyze a survey of New Hampshire workers in an effort to predict their behavior if such a program were to be implemented.

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