Fitting the Bill? The First Federal Paid Leave Mandate
050423-WP-Fitting the Bill? The First Federal Paid Leave Mandate-Byker Patel and Smith
Tanya Byker, Middlebury College
Elena Patel, University of Utah
Kristin Smith, Dartmouth College
We find that the first federal paid leave mandate in the US, enacted under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act, increased paid leave taking by nearly 200% for eligible workers, easing the constraints of the pandemic. Our estimates are based on a comparison of monthly paid absence from January – June, 2020, relative to these same months in 2018 and 2019 and leverage the eligibility criteria of the policy. We find that these benefits were primarily used for medical rather than child care needs, raising questions for optimal policy design within the broader context of federal paid leave policies.