Sen. Daughtry bill to help create statewide paid family medical leave signed into law
AUGUSTA — On Thursday, July 22, Gov. Janet Mills signed into law a bill from Sen. Mattie Daughtry, D-Brunswick, that would create a commission to study the best way to implement a paid family leave policy in Maine. LD 1559, “Resolve, To Create the Commission To Develop a Paid Family and Medical Leave Benefits Program,” an emergency measure, went into effect immediately upon becoming law.
“As both a small business owner and someone who would one day like to start a family, this bill is near and dear to my heart. Making sure that Maine families can take time off from work to take care of themselves and their loved ones is vital. We now can get to work crafting a policy that makes sense for Maine workers, businesses and our economy as a whole,” said Sen. Daughtry. “I’m so excited for this important step forward.”
LD 1559 creates a commission to study and propose a comprehensive paid family and medical leave program for Maine. The commission will hear from workers, employers, caregivers and experts, and will propose a system to support all workers, families and employers in Maine. This commission will craft a system that best fits Maine’s needs and demographics.
Only 15 percent of American workers have access to any sort of paid leave, and fewer than 60 percent of the workforce has access to unpaid leave under the Family Medical Leave Act. Nationally, one in four women takes fewer than 11 days of parental leave after giving birth despite a recommended six- to eight-week recovery period.
“On March 3, my daughter gave birth to my first grandchild, Evelyn Grace. Fortunately, living in Rhode Island, she was granted 12 weeks of leave, giving her and Evelyn an opportunity to bond. That is how it should be here. This bill gives us the opportunity to create a paid family leave plan that’s right for Maine businesses, Maine workers and Maine families,” said Sen. Joe Rafferty, D-Kennebunk, in support of the bill. “The numbers show overwhelmingly that Mainers are in favor of some form of paid family and medical leave; it is only right we follow the will of the people.”