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A look at paid family leave by wage category in 2021

January 10, 2022

Lower wage workers were less likely than higher wage workers to have access to paid family leave. In March 2021, 6 percent of private industry workers with an average wage in the lowest 10 percent had access to paid family leave, compared with 43 percent of workers with an average wage in the highest 10 percent.

Percent of private industry workers with access to family leave benefits by wage category, March 2021
Wage category Paid family leave Unpaid family leave

Lowest 10 percent

6% 78%

Lowest 25 percent

12 81

Second 25 percent

21 90

Third 25 percent

25 91

Highest 25 percent

37 94

Highest 10 percent

43 96

Access to unpaid family leave ranged from 78 percent of private industry workers whose wages were in the lowest 10 percent to 96 percent for those in the highest 10 percent.

These data are from the National Compensation Survey — Benefits program. Estimates are grouped into six wage percentile categories computed using hourly wages and salaries and scheduled hours of work reported for workers. The wage values that correspond to the percentiles are in the Technical Note of National Compensation Survey: Employee Benefits in the United States, March 2021. For more information about paid family leave, see What data does the BLS publish on family leave? Ten states and the District of Columbia have mandatory family and medical leave laws. The data presented here exclude state and local government-mandated plans because the provisions vary and because most mandated leave is unpaid.

SUGGESTED CITATION

Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, The Economics Daily, A look at paid family leave by wage category in 2021 at https://www.bls.gov/opub/ted/2022/a-look-at-paid-family-leave-by-wage-category-in-2021.htm (visited August 12, 2022).

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