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Paid Family Leave is a New Jersey Success Story: Opinion

There are few more important moments in a person’s life than when a family member needs care — whether a new baby is born or adopted or a parent, child or spouse falls seriously ill or has an accident.

Yet many Americans find themselves having to choose between providing that care and maintaining their paychecks. Helene Jorgensen and I analyzed the 2012 U.S. Department of Labor survey and found that one in four workers who needed family leave and was eligible didn’t take the leave, and nearly half reported that they couldn’t afford unpaid time. Among those who did take some time off, 40 percent said they cut the leave short for financial reasons.

That’s why the need for access to paid family leave was a major topic at the first-ever White House Summit on Working Families last month — and why New Jersey’s landmark family leave insurance program was a topic of discussion.