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Biden Administration Cites Findings from Abt Family & Medical Leave Study

When President Biden unveiled the American Families Plan in late April, he called paid family and medical leave “a critical investment in the strength and equity of our economy.” To bolster his argument, the Administration’s American Families Plan Fact Sheet cited several research studies, including an Abt study for the Department of Labor that found that women were worse off than men when it comes to family and medical leave.

With so many women leaving the labor force as a result of the pandemic, the Biden Administration is intent on remedying policies that discourage women from working. Lack of family-friendly policies such as paid family and medical leave is “a key reason for the U.S. decline in competitiveness,” the White House said. 

The Abt study found that:

  • Compared with men, more women need leave (24 percent versus 17 percent) and take leave (18 percent versus 14 percent)
  • More women than men still have unmet need for leave (9 percent versus 6 percent)
  • While on leave, substantially fewer women than men receive full pay (32 percent versus 55 percent), and more receive no pay (41 percent versus 25 percent)
  • Compared with women with partners, more single women receive no pay while on leave (52 percent versus 33 percent), and more lose their job because of taking leave (15 percent versus 3 percent).

“We hope that the study findings inform the increasingly important policy discussions about economic hardship faced by employees when they take leave from work for family and medical reasons,” said Radha Roy, the project’s director.

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