Every worker in Louisiana can face life events that must take priority over work, be it a traumatic event such as illness or a happy event like a birth or adoption. But the United States is the only industrialized nation in the world without paid leave policies that allow workers to weather the economic hardship of missing work.

Access to paid leave leads to better health outcomes, and helps families avoid the downward spiral of economic insecurity that too often accompanies unpaid time away from work.

As Louisiana tries to craft an adequate and affordable paid leave program for its workers, a new report by the Louisiana Budget Project lays out key decision points that policymakers should consider. The report, by consultant Taly Bialostocki, includes detailed recommendations to ensure workers and families benefit the most.

Among other things, policymakers should ensure that workers who take leave have strong protections against losing their jobs, and ensure that benefits are adequate enough that low-wage workers are able to take time off when needed.

“This report provides many different options for a paid leave program in Louisiana, and we welcome the debate on how this could happen,” LBP Executive Director Jan Moller said. “What we should not be debating is whether this should happen. Too much evidence exists that shows that this would be beneficial to the people of our state.”