Issue Paper - Paid Family Leave
While COVID-19 has continued to be ever present in our lives it has shown the incredible inequity when it comes to Marylanders domestic life. COVID-19 has highlighted that legislation must change with the needs of the people.
The past two years have shown us that with persistent shut-downs, school closings, remote work, and lingering illness Paid Family Leave is now a necessity. Not only have families across Maryland had to cope with increasing unexpected responsibilities at home, but the unexpected job loss that comes with extended absences and no recourse of protection. Ensuring substantial and adequate family leave would ensure that Marylanders, statistically most often women, who stay home to care for loved ones will be protected.
LWVMD supports Paid Family Leave based not only on our own positions, but LWVUS positions. LWVMD supports meeting basic human needs so that no family or individual finds themselves in poverty whatever the circumstances might be. LWVMD has been committed to this since 2013. Beyond this LWVMD also holds strong positions on children’s services founded through a study in 1995. The first goal of this position is to support “making the needs of children a high priority of the government.” Without Paid Family Leave many Maryland families will find themselves in situations where the primary caregiver, while still typically mothers, but an ever growing number of fathers, are forced to leave newborn, or newly adopted children, mere weeks after bringing them home. If the primary caregiver has to take unpaid leave the burden of supporting the family could rest on the partner if the caregiver even has one.
In 2017, LWVUS sent a letter to members of Congress urging them to pass comprehensive legislation ensuring Paid Family Leave. LWVUS believes this legislation will “provide essential support and create opportunity for all working people and families, to help ensure that people can take the time they need to address serious health issues, to promote a more level playing field for businesses of all sizes and to strengthen our national economy.” They also believe that this will address ever changing disparities across the different demographics in the workforce.
LWVMD remains committed to partnering with other organizations in the Time to Care coalition. This coalition was formed to fix the egregious error that “in Maryland, even unpaid leave under the federal Family and Medical Leave Act is inaccessible for 56 percent of working people.” They believe that passing Paid Family leave will ensure the following:
- Not having to choose between job and family;
- Older adults and working people of all ages can get the support they need to receive and provide critical care;
- People – especially women – aren’t forced to leave the labor force to care for their families or health, reducing turnover for employers and boosting the economy;
- A stronger economy, healthier families and businesses, greater equity regardless of a person’s job and more workplace equality for women.
For the fourth year in a row the Time to Care Act (HB8) has been introduced in the House by Delegate Valderrama. While it has strong support from Speaker Jones, Senate President Fergueson has already stated that he believes the bill needs more work.
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