According to “Raise Up Massachusetts”:
Why Paid Family and Medical Leave Matters
Emergencies arise for all of us at some point, but 1.2 million Massachusetts families risk losing their jobs if they take time off work to take care of a family medical emergency or after the birth of a child. Many workers who are eligible for leave under the federal Family and Medical Leave Act can’t afford to take unpaid time off work in an emergency. They’re often left having to choose between taking care of a child they love or the job that puts food on the table. Paid family and medical leave would allow these workers to take time to take care of their health or the health of a loved one without fear of losing their job.
How Paid Family and Medical Leave Works
The Family and Medical Leave and Temporary Disability Insurance Program Act will make employees eligible for up to 12 weeks of job-protected leave to recover from a serious illness or injury, to care for a seriously ill or injured family member, or to care for a newborn, newly adopted, or new foster child. Employees will be eligible for temporary disability benefits equal to a percentage of their average weekly wages. Benefits will be funded through employer contributions to the new Family and Employment Security Trust Fund.
Why We Need Paid Family and Medical Leave
Paid family and medical leave would help our state’s workers, businesses, and economy. Workers could stay home with a newborn child or a seriously ill parent, or take time to recover after an unexpected illness. Businesses would benefit from healthier and more productive employees, while the reduction in worker turnover would generate savings for employers. Paid family and medical leave also keeps money in the pockets of families who then spend it in the local economy.
California and New Jersey have had paid family and medical leave for years, and both workers and businesses report positive effects. In a survey six years after California’s law was implemented, 89 to 99 percent of employers reported that paid family and medical leave had either a “positive effect” or “no noticeable effect” on productivity, profitability/performance, turnover, and employee morale. We need paid family and medical leave for a simple reason: hardworking people shouldn’t have to choose between the job they need and the family they love.
In an editorial in support of a Massachusetts Family and Medical Leave Act the Boston Globe wrote:
Right now, about 40 percent of the workforce is not eligible for family and medical leave through the federal Family and Medical Leave Act because workers are employed by companies with fewer than 50 employees. Advocates note that represents 1.2 million workers who risk losing their jobs if they take time off to handle a family medical emergency — from ear infections to Alzheimer’s. Even for those who do qualify, unpaid leave can prove financially impossible. Providing a broader swath of workers access to paid family leave is both compassionate and common sense.
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Del Gallo supports the Massachusetts Paid Family and Medical Leave Act advocated by Raise Up Massachusetts.