Senate sends Sen. Daughtry bill to help create statewide paid family medical leave policy to Gov. Mills’ desk
AUGUSTA — On Monday, the Maine Senate enacted 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,” received unanimous, bipartisan support.
“The pandemic has shown us just how important it is for workers to be able to take time off to take care of their families, without fear of losing pay or their jobs. This bill moves Maine in the right direction, and will help us find a plan that works for both workers and businesses,” said Sen. Daughtry. “I’m eager for all the good work that could come out of this bill to begin.”
LD 1559 would create 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 would 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.”
The bill now goes to the desk of Gov. Janet Mills, who has 10 days to sign it, veto it or allow it to become law without her signature.