Key Elements of Proposed Family and Medical Leave Insurance for Washington
In 2007, Washington adopted Family and Medical Leave Insurance (FMLI) to provide parents of newborn or newly adopted children up to 5 weeks of partly paid leave. FMLI as originally adopted was too skimpy – and wasn’t funded. Then the recession hit. As a result, implementation has been delayed until new funding is approved.
Meanwhile, the Washington Work and Family Coalition worked with champions in the legislature to introduce a funding plan for FMLI, along with policy expansions to better meet the needs of Washington’s children and today’s workers and businesses. House Bill 1457/Senate Bill 5292 would:
- Provide up to 12 weeks to care for a new child or seriously ill family member, and 12 weeks for the worker’s own serious health condition;
- Provide benefits of 2/3 weekly pay;
- Pay for benefits through payroll premiums shared by workers and employers, starting at $1.00 per week for the typical worker.
What Family and Medical Leave Insurance Means for Washington
Healthier babies, thriving kids, greater dignity for seniors, and more economically secure families and businesses – that’s what FMLI means for Washington. FMLI will also result in public savings for state taxpayers.
In the 5 states with disability or family leave insurance already in place (CA, NJ, RI, NY, HI), new moms and dads take longer parental leaves and new babies get better early care. That means both moms and babies are healthier. Moreover, those moms are more likely to be working a year after birth and less likely to be on public assistance, and the dads are more likely to continue to be involved with their children for the long haul.
And with our population rapidly aging, more workers than ever find themselves caring for aging parents, too. A little extra support for family caregivers means seniors stay healthy and independent longer and fewer end up in expensive nursing homes.