HARRISBURG, Pa. — Pennsylvania is in the bottom half of a new state-by-state analysis of family-friendly workplace policies. The National Partnership for Women and Families report gave the Keystone State a “D-“.

Vicki Shabo, vice president of the organization, noted that four states, including neighboring New York and New Jersey, have adopted paid family-leave laws.

“Private-sector workers in Pennsylvania have no laws or protections that expand upon federal law,” Shabo said. “State workers do have some disability leave for family or medical reasons, but clearly much more could be done.”

According to Sharbo, recent polls show about two-thirds of Pennsylvania voters supported passing a national paid family leave law or a law requiring paid sick days.

August 5 is the 23rd anniversary of the federal Family and Medical Leave Act – or FMLA – which guaranteed workers unpaid leave for the birth of a child or medical emergency. According to Shabo, some states have enacted measures since then to improve upon federal statutes.

“But a host of states, more than half, have done very little or nothing to improve the experiences and the supports that working families have at the time when a new child joins their family,” she said.

There were 12 states given an “F” for failing to enact any workplace policies beyond the Family and Medical Leave Act and other federal laws to help new or expecting parents.

Around the world, 183 countries guarantee paid maternity leave, and 79 have paid leave for fathers as well. Shabo said the evidence shows that enacting a national paid family leave program would benefit everyone.

“It would boost our GDP. It would boost women’s labor force participation,” Shabo said. “It would create greater gender equality and it would reduce economic inequality, as well as difference in opportunities for children and children’s health going forward.”

She noted that 68 percent of the nation’s children live in households in which all parents are employed.

Andrea Sears