Tuesday, August 25, 2015

FAMILY Act

The FAMILY Act was introduced to Congress in March of this year. Under this bill, workers would have access to paid sick time. This recompense can help families in a great deal of ways.

Koortsthermometers-AFEC-0120-Lot240901+Hartmann-0123-Lot3499The way one would apply for “caregiving days” would be through the Office of Paid Family and Medical Leave, which is established in the Act. This Office would then deem eligibility for benefits. In order to be eligible, one must meet multiple requirements.

One must be insured under Social Security and held a job in the past 12 months before applying. The “caregiving” must have occurred from 90 days before to 30 days following the application. Monthly recompense can range from $580 to $4,000, depending on one’s income. The amount of benefits is a percentage of one’s wages, therefore a part-time or lower tier employee can still receive assistance, however their assistance may be of a lower monetary value than a full-time employee.

The bill covers gaps that FMLA creates. Many who qualify for time under FMLA do not take it because financially their families cannot handle even one day without income.

You may be asking, “How will we pay for this?” This will be funded by small employee and employer payroll contributions. The percentage is quite small, only .2%, which on average is $1.50 a week for the typical worker. Many employees under a similar law in other states do not even notice the cost while it is being taken out, but feel the benefits greatly when they need to care for themselves or for a family member.

 The passing of this bill can only benefit workers and employers. A happy and healthy workforce is a productive workforce. In addition, when an employee can trust their boss, the positive dynamic is felt by an entire organization.

Families would also feel the positive effects. When a parent can care for a sick child, that child recovers faster and get backs to school faster. Healthy children are more focused and less likely to have behavioral problems.

The ultimate goal of most parents is to give their children a better life than they lived. In caring for them and having a healthy relationship, children will be successful.

Is paid sick time a miracle cure? No. However, it IS an important step in ending the cycle of poverty that has consumed this nation. Which, in addition, is the only developed country in the world that does not offer paid sick time.

Contact your local legislators to get them to support the FAMILY Act. Make your voice heard!

Interested in PathWays PA Policy blog posts on similar topics?

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