GAO's Estimate of the Costs of the Parental and Medical Leave Act of 1987 (S. 249)

T-HRD-88-5: Published: Oct 29, 1987. Publicly Released: Oct 29, 1987.

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GAO discussed the proposed Parental and Medical Leave Act of 1987, which would provide job protection while permitting employees 18 weeks of unpaid leave to care for a new or seriously ill child, and 26 weeks of unpaid leave due to their own serious illness. GAO estimated that continued health benefits coverage for employees on unpaid leave: (1) to care for new children would cost employers $340 million annually; (2) to care for seriously ill children would cost employers about $22 million annually; and (3) for medical reasons would cost employers about $138 million annually. GAO also found that: (1) the cost of replacing workers on unpaid leave would likely be offset by salary savings; and (2) many firms that GAO surveyed believed that the new legislation would not affect productivity or increase administrative costs. GAO believes that its $500 million cost estimate is a more realistic projection than the U.S. Chamber of Commerce's estimate of $23 billion.

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