Family and Medical Leave Insurance – In the last days of the regular session, the Senate passed SB 5903, which would repeal family and medical leave insurance if it is not funded by 2015. The bill would set up a taskforce to make recommendations for funding – but we don’t need another taskforce – we already had one in 2007. The Washington Work and Family Coalition has already put forward a strong funding solution (HB 1457/SB 5292).
The current FMLI system is slated to begin providing benefits in the 2015-17 biennium, which would allow parents to spend a few weeks nurturing their newborn or newly adopted child without falling into poverty. The state is not obligated to spend any money in the 2013-15 biennium.
House Bill 2044 removes the implementation date for family leave insurance in order to meet 4-year balanced budget provisions, but leaves the program on the books. If “compromise” is necessary, we prefer the House’s approach to the Senate’s.
Paid Sick Days – In 2011, the Seattle City Council acted to protect the health of people living, working, and patronizing businesses in Seattle by passing minimum standards for paid sick and safe leave. This year the Senate passed Senate Bill 5726, prohibiting local paid sick leave laws from applying to companies based outside the city, or to employees who sometimes work in other locations. SB 5726 would exempt all companies that base their offices outside of Seattle, even if they have people working 100% of the time in Seattle – including providing home care to vulnerable seniors, making repairs and installations in people’s homes, or delivering food to restaurants and stores.
Tell legislators and the Governor: Reject the Senate approach on both Family and Medical Leave Insurance and Paid Sick Days. Rolling back protections will in no way improve the state budget outlook. In fact, guaranteeing that working Washingtonians can take the time they need to recover from illness, seek preventative care, nurture newborns, and care for aging family members will save the state money by promoting health, improving children’s school outcomes, boosting business productivity, and building our state’s economy.