The 19th Explains: Why there’s growing momentum for paid leave policies

State Sen. Erika Geiss knew from personal experience what her proposed legislation could do for her constituents when she introduced a bill last summer that would provide Michiganders with paid family leave. Geiss, a Democrat, said there were times she had to unexpectedly miss votes to care for her child who has a rare form of juvenile cancer. “When you have to take a week to be at IV chemo, that’s something you definitely don’t plan to happen,” Geiss said. “You need to be able to have that time. I did not get fired, but there are people who might not have been able to do the same.” The proposed bill, which was referred to a legislative committee, would serve as a state-level replacement for the now 30-year-old federal Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) — the nation’s first and only law designed to help Americans, particularly women who bear the brunt of caregiving responsibilities, balance the demands of work and family. The 19th thanks our sponsors. Become one . “People like to frame leave policies as being just about birth and welcoming a new child into the family, but there’s also those trying to leave domestic violence situations or victims of community violence, those who need to heal ,” Geiss said. “People have to take time from work to be able to address those needs. And then we add to that trauma by putting someone’s livelihood in peril.” Geiss said the FMLA might have worked 30 years ago but insisted that the state of work today and the state of our society and our communities need something better. The United States is the only high-income country where workers are not guaranteed a single paid day off by federal law, including for parental leave, family caregiving responsibilities or any other […]

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