Washington state has been awarded nearly $250,000 to study and analyze how paid leave programs can be developed and implemented statewide, Sen. Steve Conway, D-South Tacoma, announced today.

The award is part of a $1.5 million nationwide grant provided to eight states by the United States Department of Labor to study paid family and medical leave.

Washington has had a paid sick and safe leave law in place since 2007 but it remains unfunded. This grant will help the state explore the feasibility of fully funding paid sick and safe leave statewide.

“Paid sick and safe leave programs help families balance home life and work life to the benefit of both the employee and the employer,” said Conway, a longtime advocate for paid sick and safe leave policies. “I am hopeful that this feasibility study will lead to a funded and broader statewide sick and safe leave program.”

According to the United States Department of Labor, paid leave programs have been shown to improve health outcomes for children, adults and seniors; reduce turnover and increase employee retention, which cuts down on training costs for businesses; keep workers attached to the labor force; and boost earnings over time.