National paid family leave bill introduced

Representatives Pete Stark (D-CA), George Miller (D-CA), Lynn Woolsey (D-CA) and Carolyn Maloney (D-NY) today introduced landmark legislation to provide workers with 12 weeks of paid leave in order to care for a new child, a sick family member, recover from an illness, or because of an exigency arising from the deployment of a member of the armed services.

The “Family Leave Insurance Act of 2008” will provide families with the support and flexibility they need and businesses with improved productivity and employee morale. The legislation will:

  • Provide all workers with 12 weeks of paid leave over a 12-month period to care for a new child, provide for an ill family member, treat their own illness, or deal with an exigency caused by the deployment of a member of the military;
  • Provide these benefits through a new trust fund that is financed equally by employers and employees, who will each contribute 0.2% of the employee’s pay;
  • Progressively tier the benefits so that a low wage worker (earning less than $30,000) will receive full or near full salary replacement, middle income workers ($30,000- $60,000) receive 55% wage replacement, and higher earners (over $60,000) receive 40-45%, with the benefit capped at approximately $800 per week;
  • Administer the program through the Department of Labor which will contract with states to administer the program (similar to how the Unemployment Insurance program is run);
  • Allow states and businesses with materially equivalent or better benefits to opt-out of the program.

More details here.

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