Paid family and medical leave helps workers manage their work and family responsibilities by allowing them to take extended time away from work while receiving some wage replacement and without the threat of being fired. Yet, access to paid family and medical leave to care for a sick family member, a new child, or tend to one's own illness is uneven: workers who typically have access are more likely to be full time, have higher education and earnings, and work in larger firms than workers with no access. Support for a statewide paid family leave program is widespread in New Hampshire. In a winter 2016 Granite State Poll, 82 percent of New Hampshire residents said they support a paid family and medical leave insurance program.
Although New Hampshire currently does not have a paid family and medical leave law or program, these policies are gaining momentum across the United States. California, New Jersey, Rhode Island, and New York have enacted family and medical leave legislation (the New York law takes effect in January 2018), and many other states are considering similar legislation.
At the federal level, the Family and Medical Insurance Leave Act (the FAMILY Act) would create a national paid family and medical leave insurance program to provide workers with time to care for family members, a new child, or themselves when seriously ill. Understanding the level and nature of support for a program in New Hampshire will provide policy makers and stakeholders with useful information when considering the needs of Granite State workers and the opportunities for maintaining a strong workforce.