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Paid leave refers to a public or private program to compensate individuals when they miss time because of illness (paid sick leave), to tend to a newborn child (paid maternity and paternity leave), or to care for family members (paid family leave). As the law currently stands, the federal government provides unpaid leave in certain circumstances under the Family Medical Leave Act. Four states—New York, New Jersey, California, and Rhode Island—offer more comprehensive programs within their states. Mississippi not only offers no paid leave, but has a statewide policy limiting cities and towns from testing out their own paid leave policy with their voters’ approval. Such a procedural hurdle has stifled paid leave efforts in many states.

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