Bipartisan National Survey Shows Overwhelming Support for Paid Family and Medical Leave and Employer-Based System

Americans across the political spectrum overwhelmingly support paid family and medical leave and expanding existing employer-based paid leave benefits to secure a policy goal that focuses on workforce needs in the wake of a global pandemic.

That’s included in key findings of new bipartisan survey research conducted by RG Strategies and Public Opinion Strategies for the American Council of Life Insurers (ACLI).

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The polling firms said in their analysis:
  • Voters overwhelmingly say it is or would be important to them that their employer offer paid leave. This is true of voters who are currently employed as well as voters who are not currently employed (retired, stay at home parents, students, unemployed).
  • Voters overwhelmingly want paid leave to be accomplished by building on and expanding the existing employer-based paid leave benefits. Majorities across party affiliations agree.
    • 63 percent of Democrats support building on the current system
    • 76 percent of Independents support building on the current system
    • 79 percent of Republicans support building on the current system

At least three out of four voters support paid leave policy approaches that focus on:

  • creating a paid leave program via a partnership between government and private plans for employees working in small businesses or those who do not have employers;
  • modifying and expanding unpaid leave available through employers to also include paid leave;
  • providing tax credits or incentives to employers.

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Today, more than 47 percent (61.8 million) of full-time workers and 16 percent (3.9 million) of part-time workers have access to paid leave benefits through their employers’ short-term disability plans. Disability income insurance carriers pay more than $20 billion in paid medical leave claims per year. And increasingly, paid family leave benefits are being added to employees’ benefits.

“Life insurers, who help provide paid leave through disability income policies to half the civilian population, support paid family and medical leave for all workers. This research provides a clear path to accomplishing this goal with the urgency it deserves in terms of driving family financial security with a benefit that reflects the needs of workers and employers,” said ACLI President and CEO Susan Neely.

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