New Jersey set to vote on paid family leave; Washington prepares for October 2009

New Jersey moved closer on Thursday to becoming the third state in the country (after California and Washington) to give employees the right to paid family leave.

Legislation going to that state’s Senate next week will offer people six weeks of paid leave to care for a sick family member at two-thirds of their salary, up to $524 a week.

The measure would be financed by employee payroll deductions that would cost every worker in New Jersey a maximum of 64 cents a week, or $33 a year.

By comparison, Washington’s Family Leave Insurance program will ensure that parents can take up to five weeks off work to be with a newborn or newly adopted child with a modest benefit of $250 per week, pro-rated for part-time workers.

Preparations for the program have been underway since last fall, and long-term financing for the program will be taken up by Washington legislators in early 2009.

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