Congress hears expert testimony on two national family leave insurance bills

Congressional hearings have begun on both the FIRST Act (Family Income to Respond to Significant Transitions) and the Healthy Families Act. You can see testimony on both bills from:

  • Rajiv Bhatia, Director at the Occupational and Environmental Health Department of Public Health
  • Sandra Poole, Deputy Director of the California Employment Development Department Disability Insurance Branch

The FIRST Act (full text) authorizes $1.5 billion in grant funding to states to seed new programs or to bolster existing paid leave programs. Washington State would be one of the first states to benefit should the bill pass.

The Family Leave Insurance Act of 2009 (full text) would provide 12 weeks of paid benefits to workers who need time off to care for a new child, ill family member, service member returning from combat, or their own illness. The program covers all employees who have paid into the fund and worked for their current employer for 6 months.

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