Press-Republican

Wednesday

February 19, 2014

Gillibrand touts paid Family Medical Leave Act

(Continued)

PLATTSBURGH —

Currently, Family and Medical Leave provisions allow unpaid job-protected leave.

And, Gillibrand said, only 12 percent of workers have access to paid family leave through their employers. And fewer than 40 percent have access to personal medical leave through employer-provided temporary disability insurance, she said.

“We are the only industrialized nation in the world that doesn’t have paid (medical) leave,” she said.

HOW TO PAY FOR IT

The act would create an independent trust fund within the Social Security Administration to collect fees and provide benefits.

It would be funded by employee and employer contributions of 0.2 percent of wages each, which Gillibrand said equates to about the cost of one cup of coffee per week.

State Assemblywoman Addie Russell thanked Gillibrand for her attention to workforce issues such as this. She said the nation’s economic policies have failed to take into account the importance of women in the workforce and in the family.

“This is the type of issue our legislators in Washington should be focused on,” Russell said.

LEAGUE SUPPORT

League of Women Voters of the North Country President Sally Sears-Mack said the group advocates access to basic levels of care, including disease prevention, health promotion, education, access to all forms of health care and allowing consumers to purchase additional service or insurance coverage.

The new act, introduced by Gillibrand and U.S. Rep. Rosa DeLauro, meshes with the league’s position “like hand and glove,” Sears-Mack said.

HELP FOR FAMILIES

Child Care Coordinating Council Executive Director Jamie Basiliere said her agency’s mission is to support and strengthen families and child-care professionals.

“We are the one-stop shop for your young family’s needs,” she said.

Basiliere said the act would allow her 15 employees to better manage their jobs but also their caregiver duties at home. It would also benefit child-care professionals, she said.

“This will help families around the nation improve their lives,” she said.

The act requires approval by the U.S. House of Representatives and U.S. Senate.

Email Dan Heath: dheath@pressrepublican.com

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