Lawmakers introduce paid family, medical go away program for Delaware staff | The Newest from WDEL Information

For State Senator Sarah McBride, the endeavor to provide paid family and sick leave to all Delaware workers is personal.

She realized the importance of paid vacation arrangements when her then-husband Andrew was diagnosed with cancer.

“For him to survive, I had to be by his side and help him eat, bathe, bandage his wounds, and even help him breathe,” she said. “Then when he got the news that his cancer was fatal, the paid vacation policy allowed me to take care of him in his final weeks … and to marry him just a few days before he died … I was fortunate enough to To be able to do that there with him and for him. So many Delawareeans are not so lucky. “

With too many Delawareans struggling to make ends meet while suffering from an illness or caring for a new child, McBride was moved to make changes.

“The status quo is not only unsustainable, it is also cruel,” she said.

On Wednesday, May 5, it introduced Senate Bill 1, the Delaware Healthy Family Act that would give most Delaware workers up to 12 weeks of paid family and medical leave. Workers could receive up to 80% of their current wages or a maximum of $ 900 per week.

“”[This is] Legislation at the heart of both our current economic crisis and our emerging economic recovery. Over the past year we have seen outrage from families forced to give up their income in the face of illness. We saw the challenges of balancing work and childcare. As COVID spread, we recognize that protecting our families and our lives should not result in working people losing their livelihoods, “she said.

Sarah McBride

McBride, a Democrat new to state this year who represents Claymont and part of Wilmington, said an emergency COVID vacation program has kept families afloat and people alive, but something permanent is needed.

“Regardless of whether a person is facing COVID or cancer, a global health crisis or an individual health crisis, nobody should be forced to choose between their job and family. Nobody should be forced to choose between their paycheck and health. “

House majority leader Val Longhurst (D-Bear) called this legislation transformative.

“It is difficult and difficult to plan life, let alone an emergency. It is also illegal to discriminate against, refuse or force workers to make decisions that could endanger their health, family or anything unimaginable,” she said. “Too many families cannot afford to miss a mortgage payment or fall into financial ruin.”

She remembered her own experiences as a new mother 20 years ago.

“I’ve been trying to save my vacation and sick leave because my job wasn’t a family vacation. At a time that should have been the most exciting time of my life, I’ve been busy with what I’m going to do? How do I get my finances.” Meeting Needs “This stressful and bad place is mentally challenging.”

How paid family and sick leave are paid

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The paid family and sick leave program would be paid for through automatic wage contributions of less than 1%. The weekly wage deduction would be shared between an employer and the employee. Companies with fewer than 20 employees would not have to pay the employer’s share. However, your workers would continue to benefit from the program when and when they need it.

A tax assessment notice is attached to the invoice, but these costs are not yet known. There will be a one-off cost to the government to set up the program, but the contributions will fund both administration of the program and future benefits.

“We are confident that there is more than enough to achieve the necessary benefits,” she said of the formula.

In order to pass, the bill needs a three-fifths majority in both chambers, as this creates a new fee.

“As large employers grow to offer this benefit, a paid family and health insurance program will improve the playing field for small businesses that would otherwise find it difficult to provide this benefit,” said McBride.

Individuals in the state of Delaware must have earned at least $ 3,000 in wages to access cash benefit of up to 80% of their wages or a maximum of $ 900 per week. The service is available to both full-time and part-time employees. However, workers must work for an employer for 120 days to gain access to occupational safety, e. B. to be able to return to their position after vacation and to maintain health insurance through vacation.

For example, if a person who has a baby in March 2024 and takes the full 12 weeks of paid parental leave can take an additional six weeks of leave in the same year if they experience a separate qualifying event such as serious medical treatment or illness have to look after an older parent. McBride described these circumstances as “rare”. A qualifying medical event must also be accompanied by a doctor’s letter stating how long the vacation is required. If you are seriously ill, you can temporarily take up to 12 weeks’ leave.

Some large private employers, such as ChristianaCare and Sallie Mae, who already provide this or a similar service, may opt out of the government-administered program.

“We will allow them to cancel all or part of the state insurance program as long as they offer their employees benefits of the same generosity at no greater cost to their employees than what the state-administered plan offers,” said McBride.

Governor John Carney signed a law on parental leave for government employees in 2018. The law, which came into force in 2019, gives workers who have been with the state for at least a year up to 12 weeks off. Jon Starkey, a spokesman for the governor, said the governor looks forward to discussions on expanding the program.

“Expanding the program – and extending it to the private sector – is more complex. To get it right, it will require discussions with businesses large and small as necessary to pay for the new benefit,” said Starkey.

Senate Majority Leader Bryan Townsend (D-Newark) described the legislation as a compassionate solution that doubles as intelligent economic policy.

“These concepts are not mutually exclusive. The best ideas and the most effective legislation achieve both at the same time. They will make the lives of thousands of Delawareans easier and give our state and businesses a competitive advantage when it comes to attracting young working families. We step in.” the post-pandemic economy. It’s the right policy for Delaware at just the right, most urgent time, “he said.

Nine states and Washington DC have similar family and health insurance programs. If passed in Delaware, contributions to the program would begin in 2023 and benefits would become available in 2024.

“The Delawarean Healthy Act would provide a necessary system of support for Delawareans when they need it most. It offers parents bonding with a new child, patients seeking intensive care, families caring for a sick relative, and military families adapting up to 12 weeks of paid vacation to duty or domestic violence survivors seeking shelter and safety, “said McBride.

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