Families First Coronavirus Response Act: Effect on Paid Leave Taking During the Early Pandemic

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110322-Families First Coronavirus Response Act-Effect on Paid Leave Taking During the Early Pandemic-Byker Patel and Smith

Tanya Byker, Middlebury College
Elena Patel, University of Utah
Kristin Smith, Dartmouth College


We study the effect of access to Emergency Paid Sick and Family Leave on leave-taking behavior during the early months of the pandemic. We compare monthly paid absence from January – June, 2020, compared to these same months in 2018 and 2019 for eligible and ineligible employees based on firm size. Our evidence suggests that emergency paid leave increased leave taking by 68% and was primarily used for medical rather than child care needs. This result is driven by those workers at small firms who were not eligible for telework, consistent with constraints in access to emergency paid leave.


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