Paid Family Leave Legislation Introduced in the House

March 27, 2009 ( - Four lawmakers have introduced legislation in the U.S. House of Representatives to provide 12 weeks of paid benefits to workers who need to take time off to care for an ill family member or a new child, or because of their own illness.

According to a press release, Representatives Pete Stark (D-California), George Miller (D-California), Lynn Woolsey (D-California) and Carolyn Maloney (D-New York) introduced the Family Leave Insurance Act of 2009, which builds on the Family and Medical Leave Act.

“Even the most generous leave policies don’t help the millions of families who cannot afford to take leave from their jobs without pay.  That’s 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 shouldn’t be prevented from caring for a sick child, an elderly parent, or an ill spouse simply because they can’t afford to take advantage of the family leave they have earned and deserve,” Woosley said in the press release.

The announcement said 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, care for a wounded veteran, or deal with the deployment of a family member;
  • 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 (for the average worker, less than $7 a month);
  • 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); and
  • Allow states and businesses with materially equivalent or better benefits to opt-out of the program.

More about H.R. 1723 is here .