As Congress deliberates on what to include in a $1.85 trillion social safety net bill, the first national paid leave policy is on the line. If the program makes it into the final version of the bill, all workers would be eligible for four full weeks of paid leave, whether for caregiving responsibilities or medical reasons, starting in 2024.
But if the Democrats can’t reach consensus over the scope of the bill, paid leave could very well be cut, leaving states and businesses to help bridge the gap. That’s already the case in nine states across the country, along with Washington, D.C., as shown in this map from health nonprofit KFF. In the absence of a federal policy, those states have slowly enacted paid leave laws over the last two decades. (The most recent addition was Colorado, which was also the first state to pass paid leave through a ballot measure.)
Keep reading to learn more about the national paid leave proposal and what happens next—with or without federal legislation.