Different versions of paid family leave have been cropping up in states and local venues around the country with increasing regularity and now the federal government is closer to getting in on the action. This week, the House Education and Workforce Committee held a public hearing on what it generally called “workplace leave” policies. Ostensibly, the purpose of the hearing was to take public comments on H.R. 4219, the Workflex in the 21st Century Act, filed by California Congresswoman Mimi Walters, but in reality, it provided a stark contrast between two different approaches to ensuring private employees enjoy paid leave benefits – HR 4219, being the poster boy legislation for initiatives relying more on the carrot than the stick for better employee benefits. HR 4219 would exempt companies that meet a minimum set of federal paid leave standards and flexible work requirements from state and local paid leave laws. On the mandate side of the coin, Democrats were adamant in their opposition to the legislation, calling it a Christmas gift to big business and contending further that business be mandated to provide specific minimum periods of paid leave with severe penalties for non-compliance.to ensure paid leave for employees. Committee There’ll be more to come on federal paid leave policy proposals, but read on for current action at the state level.