Effects of California’s Paid Family Leave on Older Adults
Joelle Abramowitz1, Marcus Dillender2
1University of Michigan, 2University of Illinois at Chicago
In 2004, California became the first state to require that employers provide paid family leave to their employees.  The California leave law mandates that firms allow eligible workers to take up to six weeks of leave and stipulates a wage replacement rate of up to 55 percent.  This paper examines the effect of California’s leave law on older adults.  The law may induce employed older adults to take leave to care for ill family members.  Alternatively, if the law induces others to take leave, it may crowd out older adults’ time spent on caregiving.  Preliminary results suggest the law induces a switch in caregiving behavior with older adults becoming less likely to be retired, increasing time spent helping parents with activities like dressing, eating, and bathing, and decreasing time spent caring for grandchildren and time spent reading and on the computer, with findings concentrated among women.