Children, Families, and Communities

Paid Family Leave

Our grantees are working toward comprehensive paid family leave policies that are equitable and accessible, so that families can be stronger, healthier, and set up for long-term success.

The United States is one of the few countries in the world without a national paid family leave policy. Paid family leave (PFL) policies—which allow workers to take paid time off to care for themselves or their newborns, adopted children, or family members facing illness—can enhance the financial stability of families and improve health and developmental outcomes for children. Paid leave can be especially important for new parents, as child care for our youngest children can be costly, difficult to find, and variable in quality. Low wage workers, particularly people of color and immigrants, are the most likely to benefit and least likely to have access to paid leave. As a result, socioeconomic and health disparities are exacerbated across generations.

Attachment, parental engagement, and quality of care early in life have a direct impact on a child’s long-term health and well-being. PFL policies can help create an environment in which these important building blocks can be laid. Parental participation in PFL is associated with higher rates of immunizations, well child visit attendance, and breastfeeding. PFL is also linked to lower rates of infant mortality, childhood illnesses, and child maltreatment and traumatic head injury, perhaps by reducing risk factors such as parental stress and depression. PFL can also improve job continuity for women and increase employment rates several years after childbirth

This time-limited, three year strategy seeks to partner with other funders to accelerate progress through advocacy and policy that incorporates lessons learned in states that have implemented PFL. We also seek to elevate the voices of diverse stakeholders to expand and advance equitable, comprehensive policies that meet the needs of families.

We are working to:

  • Support leaders and organizations advocating for a comprehensive, bipartisan federal paid family leave policy, informed by California and other states.
  • Provide technical assistance to states and localities to support implementation of new provisions and financing under the Families First Act related to paid family leave and COVID-19.
  • Support California to expand existing paid family leave policies and address challenges such as sustainable funding, equitable access, and implementation practices.
  • Support policies and practices that recognize paid family leave as part of the continuum of care that supports individual economic wellbeing, and the healthy development and early learning for children.
  • Engage business communities in advocacy on paid family leave, explore financing solutions, and inform thinking on implementation.
  • Strengthen and diversify existing coalitions by including early care and education and children’s health advocates, and by elevating the importance of paid family leave policies in supporting healthy children and families.

Our People

Meera Mani

Vice President, Families and Communities

Katherine Beckmann

Program Officer

Deborah Kong

Program Officer

How to Get Support

The Children, Families, and Communities Program is not accepting unsolicited proposals, but welcomes your ideas for funding requests. Before you send a request, please review this page. If your work is aligned with the program strategy and geographic focus, please send your request using the form here.