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Gillibrand Announces Paid Family And Medical Leave Legislation

Luke Tubia, WIBX

Paid family and medical leave could become a reality in the United States.

Senator Kirsten Gillibrand was at the YWCA in Utica announcing legislation that would establish a paid family and medical leave insurance program.

The legislation would create a matching pay system similar to social security that would guarantee workers 12 paid weeks of leave for childbirth or serious family illness.

Gillibrand says Americans should not have to choose between loved ones and careers.

“When a young parent needs time to care for a newborn child – it should never come down to an outdated policy that lets her boss decide how long it will take – and decide the fate of her career and her future along with it,” Gillibrand said. “When any one of us – man or woman – needs to care for a dying parent – we should not have to sacrifice our job and risk our future to do the right thing for our family. Choosing between your loved ones and your career and your future is a choice no one should have to make.”

Current Falmily and Medical Leave provides unpaid leave for serious health issues for only about half of the workforce. The other half does not qualify and others just can’t afford unpaid time off.

The FAMILY Act would cover every worker by instituting a program similar to Social Security where employee and employer would contribute 0.2% of wages each.

Gillibrand says this amounts to about a cup of coffee per week and requires no federal funding as it would be self sufficient.

Currently, the United States is one of only 8 countries in the world that does not provide paid medical leave. Even countries like Afghanistan, Pakistan and Bangladesh have similar systems in place.

Gillibrand’s proposal makes paid leave available to everyone as long as the person has sufficient earnings and work history.

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