Legislation in Wisconsin
Wisconsin workers need public policies that allow them to better manage the dual demands of work and family. Family friendly workplace laws help workers maintain their economic security when they give birth, adopt, raise children or grandchildren, deal with illness, and care for parents, grandparents, spouses or partners.
For a more detailed analysis on family friendly workplace policies in Wisconsin and how the state compares to other states, see the National Partnership’s Expecting Better report.
Working Families by the Numbers
- 1,481,811 Wisconsin women are in the labor force, making up 48 percent of the state workforce.1
- 70,306 Wisconsinites gave birth between 2015 and 2016.2
- In 77 percent of Wisconsin households with children, all parents work (949,196 households).3
- 71,144 Wisconsin grandparents live with grandchildren who are under 18.4
- 578,000 Wisconsinites serve as family caregivers.5
- 1,022,089 Wisconsin workers (45.5 percent of the private sector workforce) cannot earn a single paid sick day.6
- Just 36.9 percent of working adults in Wisconsin are estimated to be eligible for and able to afford to take unpaid leave under the federal Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA).7
Under the state family and medical leave law, workers who earn paid leave are entitled to use it for to care for a seriously ill child, spouse, domestic partner, or parent.
Wisconsin's family and medical leave law extends access to job-protected leave to more workers than the federal Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA). The Wisconsin law applies to workers who have worked 1,000 hours over the preceding year and defines family more broadly than the federal FMLA to include domestic partners. However, the amount of time provided under state law is less generous than under federal law. Workers are entitled to a maximum of six weeks of leave to care for a new child, up to two weeks of leave to care for a spouse or domestic partner with a serious health condition, and up to two weeks of pregnancy-related leave in any twelve-month period.
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- 1 U.S. Census Bureau. (2017). American Community Survey 1-Year Estimates 2015, Geographies: All States within United States and Puerto Rico, Table DP03: Selected Economic Characteristics. Retrieved 6 October 2017, from https://factfinder.census.gov/faces/tableservices/jsf/pages/productview.xhtml?pid=ACS_16_1YR_DP03&prodType=table
- 2 U.S. Census Bureau. (2017). American Community Survey 1-Year Estimates 2015, Geographies: All States within United States and Puerto Rico, Table DP02: Selected Economic Characteristics. Retrieved 6 October 2017, from https://factfinder.census.gov/faces/tableservices/jsf/pages/productview.xhtml?pid=ACS_16_1YR_DP02&prodType=table
- 3 See note 1.
- 4 See note 2.
- 5 Reinhard, S.C., Feinberg, L.F., Choula, R. & Houser, A. (2015, July). Valuing the Invaluable: 2015 Update. AARP Public Policy Institute Publication. Retrieved 6 October 2017, from http://www.aarp.org/content/dam/aarp/ppi/2015/valuing-the-invaluable-2015-update-new.pdf
- 6 Institute for Women’s Policy Research & National Partnership for Women & Families. (2015, May). Workers’ Access to Paid Sick Days in the States. Table 2. Retrieved 6 October 2017, from http://www.nationalpartnership.org/research-library/work-family/psd/workers-access-to-paid-sick-days-in-the-states.pdf
- 7 diversitydatakids.org. (2015). Working Adults Who Are Eligible For and Can Afford FMLA Unpaid Leave (Share). Brandeis University, The Heller School, Institute for Child, Youth and Family Policy Publication. Retrieved 6 October 2017, from http://www.diversitydatakids.org/data/ranking/529/working-adults-who-are-eligible-for-and-can-afford-fmla-unpaid-leave-share/#loct=2&cat=44,25&tf=17
For a comprehensive collection of federal and state work-family laws and proposals, including legislation introduced in previous years, visit the National Partnership's Work & Family Policy Database