State Sen. McBride introduces paid family and medical depart laws

Democratic state lawmakers advocate paid family and sick leave for all Delaware residents.

State Senator Sarah McBride (D-Claymont) introduced the Paid Family and Sick Leave Act last week, calling it a major social safety net.

She says she was inspired to fight for these benefits after caring for her late husband Andrew after being diagnosed with cancer.

“He had to focus on his treatment every day to save his life and I had to be there to help him survive,” said McBride. “We were able to do that because of the paid vacation benefits.”

McBride says she has been fortunate enough to have access to paid vacation from her employer, but many Delaware residents are not so lucky, so some families can choose between being healthy or putting up groceries.

She says the legislation will create an important safety net for Delaware residents while making the state more attractive to workers and employers.

“This would help Delaware win the competition for talent by providing that advantage and keeping pace with best practices we are seeing increasingly in employers as well as in more and more states,” she said.

Neighboring New Jersey and nearby Washington DC are among those with paid vacations.

Currently, fewer than one in five Americans have access to paid family vacations in their state.

The bill would give most Delaware workers 12 weeks of paid time per year to attend to serious medical needs, pregnancy, or family care.

The pay would cover up to 80% of their average salary, up to a maximum of $ 900 per week.

The State Department of Labor would administer the program in a similar way to unemployment benefits.

According to McBride, this means that small businesses can take advantage of the program with no additional human resource burden and small businesses are tax exempt.

Financing would come from a wage tax for all companies with more than 20 employees. That means the bill will require a 3/5 majority in both the State House and Senate to pass.

McBride says she has had positive feedback from other lawmakers – and the bill has support from both the House and Senate Democratic leadership.

Roman Battaglia is a corps member of Report for America, a national utility that places journalists in local newsrooms.

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