Paid Family Leave Research: Meet Ruiting

Posted on April 2, 2018

A team of first year MPA students at the University of North Carolina are partnering with ELGL to conduct original research on North Carolina local governments and paid family leave. In this series of blog posts, we meet the research team and hear their perspectives on this project and topic.

Ruiting Yang


Is paid family leave a popular/relevant concept? Why or why not?
Hi, there! I am Ruiting Yang, a first-year graduate student in UNC School of Government’s public administration program, minoring in public policy. I am originally from China, where I graduated from a combined undergraduate program held by Capital Normal University and Beijing Normal University focusing on public affairs management.
Prior to attending UNC, I was an intern at the Department of Research in Sany Foundation, Beijing. I also served as a participator of a brilliant undergraduate Chinese student team that received the first-place recognition in 2016 Global Business Plan Competition in the U.S., and the team leader of my proposed project in 2017 National Undergraduate Innovative and Entrepreneurial Plan in China. My primary interests are in economic development and international NPOs.

The most appealing thing for me to join in this excellent project is that this state-of-the-art idea of Paid Family Leave does have the potential to write a new chapter of work and life in the U.S., and even all over the world.

Comparing with the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) signed in 1993 and created up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave for the birth of a child, caring for a sick relative or for a personal illness which many people can’t afford to take, Paid Family Leave has intrigued almost everyone and has become a frequent topic of conversation, at the playground, in corporate human resources offices and in state and local government.
It’s of great importance and brilliance for ELGL to put a magnifying glass on North Carolina to further dig in this field.
Undoubtedly, Paid Family Leave is a popular and relevant concept, especially in recent years. In the U.S., Paid Family Leave is a big concern. There are four states, California, New Jersey, New York and Rhode Island currently providing for paid family leave.
Washington D.C. enacted a paid family leave measure in February 2017 that will take effect on July 1, 2020.
The State of Washington passed a measure to create a paid family leave program in July 2017. Benefit payments will commence at the start of 2020. The paid leave programs in these four states are administered through pre-existing temporary disability insurance programs and funded via employee payroll deductions.
Washington D.C. created a Universal Paid Leave Implementation Fund that will receive monies from a payroll tax on the employees of covered employers and self-employed individuals who opt into the program. Washington state created a similar Family and Medical Leave insurance account in the state treasurer’s office.
Internationally speaking, the United States is actually a little lagged behind. On the one hand, it is the only developed country that does not have paid leave in a national level. On the other hand, New Zealand is proposing to extend Paid Parental Leave to 26 weeks by 2020; Australia’s Fair Work Amendment (Improving National Employment Standards) Bill has amended the Fair Work Act 2009 by adding family and domestic violence leave to the National Employment Standards (NES); France, Greece, and Spain offer 100 percentage wage replacement for portions of parental leave, while Sweden and Norway replace 80 percentage of usual earnings along with different options of longer-term holiday with less percentage of replacement, etc.

In a nutshell, this evidences shows how popular and relevant Paid Family Leave is. Therefore, this ELGL project is definitely essential for us to sharpening insights and broadening horizons.

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