By David Madden

NEW BRUNSWICK, N.J. (CBS) — A study by researchers based at Rutgers University takes a good, long look at New Jersey’s three-year-old Family Leave law, which provides paid coverage for up to six weeks to allow people to care for newborns or loved ones who get sick.

Using state data and a recent Eagleton Poll, the Center for Women and Work found that although a lot of people favor the concept of paid leave — and New Jersey’s program is one of the best in the country —  many don’t know what help is available.

“We found awareness of the program limited, with fewer than half of all residents knowing that it exists and others unaware of the extent of its provisions,” says Karen White, the center’s director.

Some 100,000 people have filed claims with the state, but the average weekly check of just under $500 is not enough, in the center’s estimation, to encourage people to actually take the time off.

The study suggests that higher benefits, increased outreach, and heightened job protection will increase the number of people who decide to use the program.

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