The City of Madison is one of six municipal areas nationwide that have been awarded a U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) Women’s Bureau grant to research and analyze how a paid-leave program can be developed and implemented for City employees.
Madison Mayor Paul Soglin was joined by Alders Shiva Bidar and Maurice Cheeks in introducing a resolution authorizing the City to apply for the DOL funding earlier this spring. It was announced this week that the City would receive over $155,000 to collaborate with Professor Leann Tigges of UW’s Department of Community & Environmental Sociology, Ph.D. student Miriam Barcus of the UW Sociology Department and the UW Survey Research Center to conduct the study.
“Millions of working Americans have care giving responsibilities for both young children and aging parents, but only 12 percent of private-sector workers have access to paid family leave through their employers,” said Soglin. “Those without access to paid family leave are unable to care for seriously ill loved ones without risking their jobs and losing their paychecks.”
“As a strong supporter of paid leave programs, I am excited that the City of Madison has been awarded this grant by the US Department of Labor to study the impact of a paid leave policy for our city employees. It will allow us to move a step further in joining the national movement towards paid leave programs,” said Alder Bidar.
“As a new parent myself, I’m more convinced than ever that family and medical leave is essential for economic security, personal wellness and family stability,” said Alder Cheeks. “This federal grant is an exciting step to prepare us to offer paid leave to our city employees while also creating a great model for employers in our community to use to strengthen their own workforce.”
Research has shown that paid family and medical leave programs help workers with care giving responsibilities and serious health needs to remain in the workforce. At the same time, these programs help businesses by cutting down on training costs, while keeping workers attached to the labor force and boosting earnings over time.
The City and its research partner, the University of Wisconsin-Madison, are committed to sharing insights from the study and progress toward implementing a paid leave policy with other municipalities and businesses.