State treasurers name for nationwide program on paid family depart

Seventeen state treasurers, including Kansas’s Lynn Rogers, have published an open letter to the leaders of Congress calling for the passage of family paid vacation and medical leave as part of President Biden’s upcoming American family plan.

Rogers and the Treasurers of California, Maine, Oregon, Washington State and Wisconsin attended an online press conference Wednesday to discuss the need for a national family vacation program.

Rogers said Kansas doesn’t have a paid family vacation program, but surrounding states have looked into the idea. He said that if Kansas didn’t intervene, it would affect companies’ ability to recruit and retain workers. He said a national program would create a level playing field for all companies and all states without a “confusing jumble of programs”. He said consistent and statewide policies would be of great benefit to companies and would help Kansas companies retain workers. He said it will also reduce reliance on government social services because people can take care of themselves.

The letter, signed by the Treasurers, states that the United States’ position as “the only high-income country that does not have a national paid vacation policy” poses “enormous risks” to the economy, especially after the COVID crisis. Without a federal policy, only nine states and the District of Columbia have paid vacation programs, leaving a patchwork of state programs and leaving the vast majority of state finances and investments vulnerable to potential investment losses and operational risk.

The letter was organized by the Paid Leave for the United States (PL + US) and For The Long Term interest groups.

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