FMLA Articles

It’s back: Paid leave reinstated in the Build Back Better plan


Key to remember:  Whether paid leave is on the horizon remains to be seen, but the campaign for it continues.

Applies to: Employers outside of states with paid leave laws. 

Impact to customers: Employers should continue to watch for movement on this provision. If it were to become law, many customers would need to get ready to change policies and practices.


On page 1065 of the 2135 pages of the latest version of the Build Back Better plan is Universal Comprehensive Paid Leave. Instead of the original 12 weeks of paid leave, however, this version provides for only four weeks of leave.

The reasons for leave would be similar to those under the current FMLA:

  • The employee’s own serious health condition,
  • Birth/bonding,
  • Caring for a family member, or
  • Addressing issues arising from a family member’s military deployment or serious injury.

Again, family members are expanded from the current FMLA’s list of spouses, children, and parent, to include spouses, domestic partners, parents, guardians, children, siblings, grandparents, grandchildren, in-laws, and any other association by blood or affinity that is equivalent to a family relationship.

This latest version, however, does not include leave for sexual assault, stalking, or domestic violence, or paid bereavement leave following the death of an immediate family member.

This time around, low-income employees would receive 90 percent of their income, as opposed to 85 percent, at least in the House’s version, and the benefits would begin in 2024.

If employees receive paid leave under state law, they would not also receive paid leave under the federal plan. Employers in states that have paid leave laws would not need to provide employees the federal paid leave.

This is not a done deal as the provision continues to face obstacles. The House version would need to be approved by the Senate, which would need to approve or change it. From there, it would need to be approved again by the House before being passed.

This article was written by Darlene M. Clabault, SHRM-CP, PHR, CLMS, of J. J. Keller & Associates, Inc. The content of these news items, in whole or in part, MAY NOT be copied into any other uses without consulting the originator of the content.


The J. J. Keller LEAVE MANAGER service is your business resource for tracking employee leave and ensuring compliance with the latest Federal and State FMLA and leave requirements.