Family and Medical Leave Insurance Act (HB 3087) Introduced in Legislature Backed by Diverse Coalition

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
February 24, 2017
Contact: Luann Algoso, luann@familyforward.org, 714-613-2647

SALEM, OR – Today, the legislature introduced the Family and Medical Leave Insurance Act (HB 3087), a bill that is supported by the Time for Oregon coalition, a group of organizations ranging from community advocacy groups, labor organizations, public health organizations, senior groups, children’s groups and more that are working together to bring paid family and medical leave to ALL Oregonians. Whether it’s the birth of a child, the serious illness of a spouse, or the end-of-life for a parent – we all need time to care for our families. Caring for a family is important work, and shouldn’t mean losing wages or compromising our economic security.

HB 3087 would create a Paid Family and Medical Leave Insurance Program that ensures every working Oregonian will have paid time away from work to welcome a new child, to recover from a serious illness, or to care for a loved one who is recovering from a serious illness. This program would be managed by the Department of Consumer & Business Services. Employees and employers would each contribute up to 0.5% (half of one percent) of an employee’s wages through a regular payroll deduction. When an employee has a qualifying reason for leave they would receive partial wage replacement for their time away from work directly from the state insurance fund.

“Women still provide the majority of unpaid caregiving within the home, whether it is for a child or for an elderly parent,” says Andrea Paluso, Executive Director of Family Forward Oregon. “Women are also the primary or co-breadwinner in more than two-thirds of families. Without universal policies like paid family leave, women continue to face real barriers to staying in the workforce and maintaining their earnings when family caregiving needs arise.

“I support a paid family and medical leave insurance program because I know it’s critical for the people who work for me and because it’s good for business,” says Kerry McClenahan, CEO of McClenahan Bruer. “Trying to provide family leave benefits without an insurance program to fund them is simply not an option for most small businesses. That’s why we need the state to lead the way – creating a program that ensures all families can manage the ups and downs that are inevitable during some points of their working lives. In addition, making paid family and medical leave more universally available is critical to ensuring that women are treated equitably at work. Until we ensure that everyone can take paid leave to welcome a new child or care for a family member, women will continue to experience wage and leadership gaps.”

“Creating a paid family and medical leave program will have have economy-wide benefits such as reduced government spending on public assistance and increased labor force participation, which will bring associated economic gains, generating a larger tax base and increased consumer spending. It’s the right thing to do for Oregon’s families, and now is the right time to do it.” says Rep. Jennifer Williamson who is sponsoring the bill.

Among others the bill is endorsed by: Oregon AFL-CIO, American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME), Asian Pacific American Network of Oregon, Basic Rights Oregon, Children First for Oregon, Fair Shot for All Coalition, Family Forward Oregon, Forward Together, Oregon Education Association, Oregon Health Equity Alliance, Oregon Nurses Association, Partnership for a Hunger-Free Oregon, PCUN, Service Employees International Union (SEIU), Unite Oregon and the United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW).

Time for Oregon is a group of organizations ranging from community advocacy groups, labor organizations, public health organizations, senior groups, children’s groups and more that are working together to bring paid family and medical leave to ALL Oregonians.

 

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