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Equitable Access to Family and Medical Leave in the U.S.: How Are We Doing and How Can We Do Better?

Thursday, March 16, 2023 1:00 pm - 2:00 pm EST

The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), which requires certain employers to provide employees job protected (but unpaid) leave for specified medical and family reasons, is set to turn 30 years old. Abt has been assessing family and medical leave, including FMLA, for decades. We conduct large national surveys to understand employees’ leave usage patterns, unmet needs, and access to pay while on leave, as well as employers’ experiences with and perceptions of FMLA. In this webinar, Abt will draw on the findings from our most recent national surveys, conducted in 2019, to share evidence on: 1) the extent to which FMLA supports U.S. workers in taking leave from work for a family or medical reason without significant economic impact, and 2) the extent to which access is equitable for disadvantaged workers. We will share key insights from the surveys and from experts in the field to understand opportunities to expand and improve equitable access to family and medical leave.


Abt Global:
Jane Herr, Associate/Economist
Radha Roy, Senior Associate
David Kaz, Principal Associate (Moderator)

Guest Speakers:
Ann Bookman, Senior Fellow, McCormack Graduate School, UMass Boston
Elisabeth Jacobs, Senior Fellow, Urban Institute
Sophia Mitchell, Policy Attorney, First Shift Justice Project

What Will You Learn?

  • Why is family and medical leave important?
  • What is FMLA, and how does it work? 
  • Who has access to family and medical leave, and is it equitable?
  • Who has access to pay while on leave?
  • What strategies can be undertaken to improve access to leave, particularly in meeting the needs of underrepresented groups?

Who Should Attend?

  • Federal, state, and local policymakers
  • Research/academic and policy organization staff focused on workforce, labor market, poverty, equity, healthcare, women, family well-being, and related areas
  • Philanthropic organization staff focused on similar issues
  • State and local workforce development boards/American Job Centers
  • Workforce providers
  • Employer representatives (e.g., human resources) focused on employee health and well-being

This event is part of Abt’s Workforce & Economic Mobility Learning Series. More information and previous recorded events are available here.

Watch the Webinar Recording:

Download the Presentation:

equity access to fmla