Key Elements of Proposed Family and Medical Leave Insurance for Washington
The Washington Work and Family Coalition is working with champions in the legislature to assure all workers have access to paid family and disability leave through the FaMLI Act. Key elements of the FaMLI Act are:
- 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 of 0.2% paid by workers and matched by employers (less than $2.00 per week for the typical worker).
2015-16 Legislature: HB 1273, sponsored by Rep. June Robinson, was heard and passed by the House Labor Committee during the 2015 Legislative session. Companion bill SB 5459, sponsored by Senator Karen Keiser, was not scheduled in the Senate committee. The bills will not be considered further in 2015, but could still be passed in 2016.
Background: 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. The FaMLI Act will expand and fully fund the 2007 program to better meet the needs of Washington’s children and today’s workers and businesses.
What the FaMLI Act Means for Washington
Healthier babies, thriving kids, greater dignity for seniors, and more economically secure families and businesses – that’s what FaMLI means for Washington. FaMLI 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.