Parental Leave:

Estimated Cost of Revised Parental and Medical Leave Act

HRD-88-103: Published: May 26, 1988. Publicly Released: Jun 9, 1988.

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In response to a congressional request, GAO revised the cost estimate for S. 249, a bill concerning parental and medical leave, to take into account possible revisions in employee eligibility and the duration of allowable leave.

GAO found that the revised legislation would include: (1) coverage for firms with 20 or more workers with 1 year's service and 900 or more hours of work, instead of 15 or more employees regardless of the length of service; (2) reductions in the length of unpaid leave from 18 weeks to 10 weeks for birth, adoption, or child illness and from 26 weeks to 13 weeks for personal illness; (3) a guarantee of the same or an equivalent job after returning to work; and (4) continuation of health benefits while on unpaid leave. In addition, GAO found that continuation of health benefits for workers on unpaid leave: (1) to care for new children would cost about $117 million annually and cover about 1,023,000 women, who would use an average of 10 weeks of leave; (2) to care for seriously ill children would cost about $11 million annually, cover about 72,000 workers, who would use about 7.8 weeks of leave; and (3) for personal temporary medical leave would cost about $66 million annually, cover 743,000 workers, and use about 8.6 weeks of leave.

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