Poll shows strong support for paid family leave programs

Pfc. Tierrine Wesley holds his 7-month-old son for only the second time following his unit's welcome home ceremony at Wheeler Army Airfield in Hawaii. Soldiers on deployment when their child is born are allotted up to 10 days of paternity leave that must be used within 60 days of returning home. Photo Credit: United States Army/Flickr

CHICAGO (AP) — Time off from work to care for a child or relative is codified in federal law. Now, an overwhelming majority of Americans 40 and older want that time away from the job to be paid.

An Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research poll says 72 percent support paid family leave. Democrats are more likely to back it, but Republicans also express strong support. Support was stronger among 40- to 64-year-olds and women.

At least 19 states are considering paid family leave laws, but only three have active programs. New York will launch its program in 2018.

The federal Family and Medical Leave Act provides for up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave for most workers. A bill to make the leave paid has gone nowhere in Congress.

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