Legislation that would widen the Family and Medical Leave Act to include paid leave has been introduced by four House Democrats. The Family Leave insurance Act of 2009 builds upon FMLA by allotting 12 weeks of paid-leave time that an employee may spend caring for themselves or a sick family member.
"Even the most generous leave policies don't help the millions of families who cannot afford to take leave from their jobs without pay. Thats why we must support working families by providing them the flexibility to balance work and family obligations. In a country as rich as ours, workers shouldnt be prevented from caring for a sick child, an elderly parent, or an ill spouse simply because they cant afford to take advantage of the family leave they have earned and deserve," said Lynn Woosley (D-Calif.).
The 12 weeks of paid leave would be available over a 12-month period to look after a new child, an ill family member or themselves as well as care for a wounded veteran or come to terms with the deployment of a family member.
According to the bill presented by Woosley and her colleagues Pete Stark (D-Calif.), George Miller (D-Calif.), and Carolyn Maloney (D-N.Y.) on March 27, leave time will be financed by a new trust fund which will be equally funded by employers and employees, who will each contribute 0.2% of the employees pay, which translates to $7 a month for the average worker. The funding works on a tier system; the low wage earner (less than $30,000) would be reimbursed completely or nearly so. A middle income worker ($30,000-$60,000) would receive 55% wage replacement and higher earners (over $60,000) would garner 40-45% in returns with the benefit capped at approximately $800 per week.
States will administer the program through the Department of Labor in a manner similar to how the unemployment insurance program is run. Those states or businesses with materially equivalent or improved benefits are permitted to opt-out of the program.
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