The Washington Work and Family Coalition stands in strong opposition to SB 5159 repealing family and medical leave insurance and SB 5726 and SB 5728 restricting local governments in adopting standards for paid sick and safe leave.
Proposed amendments to these bills do not alter our opposition. Instead, the amendments give the illusion of supporting working families, when they continue to actually move us backwards.
Expanded access to paid leave is critical for the health and well-being of Washington’s people and families. A healthy workforce and economically secure families are keys to rebuilding a strong middle class and vibrant economy in our state.
Rolling back paid leave protections is the wrong direction for our economy.
Family leave insurance was established in 2007. The Senate at that time approved a payroll premium to fund a more expansive program. Unfortunately, the House in passing the bill stripped the funding. They instead created a taskforce to propose funding, which was unable to come up with an alternative.
Another taskforce is not the solution. A viable mechanism and improved policy is already available through SB 5292 and the House companion 1457.
Restricting the ability of locally elected governments to establish paid sick and safe leave standards is also the wrong direction. Instead, we should be moving forward with passage of SB 5594 and its companion HB 1313, to create a uniform standard across the state, assuring that no one is forced to work sick and is empowered to deal with the health and safety needs of themselves and their families without losing needed family income.
Passage of SB 5159, 5726 and 5728 even in amended form are votes against Washington’s working families.