A number of states have pursued proposals to amend state Unemployment Insurance (UI) laws to allow qualified employees to collect unemployment compensation while they are caring for a newborn or newly adopted child. The concept had the benefit of using UI to help workers quickly return to the workforce – and ideally the same job – after taking parental leave. This approach received a lot of attention after the Clinton Administration created a regulation allowing, and therefore encouraging states to use UI funds to create parental leave programs. Unfortunately in 2003, the Department of Labor under the Bush Administration rescinded the “Baby UI” regulation. While UI experts hold that a DOL regulation explicitly permitting states to use UI funds is not legally necessary to use UI to provide new parents with paid parental leave, the repeal of the regulation and current rates of high unemployment have, for the moment, chilled this approach.

National Partnership for Women & Families (2005). Where families matter: State progress toward valuing America’s families. A summary of 2005 initiatives.Washington, D.C.: National Partnership for Women & Families.