For years, Maine’s working families have been struggling with rising healthcare costs, increased cost of living, and the chipping away of crucial social safety nets. Now, this pandemic has made clear how at risk our working families have become.

Right now, Maine has an unpaid Family & Medical Leave policy. This means many families are either forced to go to work when they or a loved one are unwell, or they risk losing the income they need to pay rent or buy groceries.

Sign here if you agree: Maine needs Paid Family & Medical Leave.

The lack of a Paid Family & Medical Leave Policy is even harder on families who need more constant care. Abby and her son William are one of those families.

William was diagnosed with Down Syndrome a few days after he was born and spent weeks in the NICU. Abby’s employer provided six weeks of paid leave; she used up her accrued vacation time for another six weeks. Her husband was only able to take two weeks off using his paid vacation time.

While William is in good health now, the COVID-19 pandemic has interfered with many of the programs the family relies on to keep him healthy and supported, including his after school care.

“One thing I do struggle with right now, particularly with COVID, is that his services, that are supposed to be provided by the state, are not provided well enough to continue,” said Abby.

Now, Abby and her husband will have to split time to care for Colby in the afternoons after school, which will interfere with their work.

“Parents and caregivers that find themselves in a place where they have to choose between a job and taking care of their children is a crisis situation; and during COVID, everyone is in a crisis situation.”

If our families can’t take time off to get better when they are sick, or to care for their family, we’ll be hard-pressed to recover from this pandemic.

Sign here to tell our legislators: it’s time to pass Paid Family & Medical Leave.

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For years, our working families and small businesses have borne a higher proportional tax burden than the wealthiest corporations. And during the worst pandemic in a generation, these corporations have made record profits, while working Mainers have struggled to get by.

As our elected officials focus on rebuilding our state in the wake of COVID-19, it’s crucial that they ensure corporations start paying their fair share.

There are lots of big multinational corporations that do business in Maine; they drive on our roads, employ our workers, and use our resources, but for years, they haven’t paid their fair share in taxes.

Some of these corporations even use a loophole that rewards them for hiding their profits overseas.

During a pandemic, working families and small businesses need more protection, not less. This is a time to invest in our essential services, like healthcare, education, and public safety – doing so will keep working Mainers on their feet and supported as we recover from this crisis.

Rather than put these services on the chopping block, we need our elected officials to focus on tax fairness. Ensuring tax fairness means closing corporate tax loopholes.

Closing corporate tax loopholes would not only help make sure we don’t have to make major cuts as we chart the path towards our recovery, but it could also prevent considerable tax hikes that would hurt families who are already struggling. There are tangible steps that our lawmakers could take to close these loopholes, including peeling back Trump-era corporate tax breaks, like the FDII tax loophole.

We still have a long road ahead when it comes to recovering from this pandemic, and it won’t be easy. But we need to make sure that working families and small businesses come before the profits of big corporations. It’s time for big corporations to pay their fair share; it’s time to close corporate tax loopholes.

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Between the economic downturn and the struggle to keep their families and neighbors healthy, Mainers are looking to their representatives for help.

Ensuring that all Mainers can get the care they need should they fall ill is the State Legislature’s top priority. That’s why they created the COVID-19 Patient Bill of Rights.

SIGN HERE to tell your legislators to pass the COVID-19 Patient Bill of Rights.

The COVID-19 Bill of Rights would:

  • Require insurance companies to expand access to and to fully cover COVID-19 testing;

  • Waive all copayments for COVID-19 testing, screening and vaccines

  • Allow Mainers increased options for telehealth appointments;

  • Permit pharmacists to fill prescriptions for extended periods and to administer COVID-19 vaccines once available.

This bill would ensure that all Mainers, even those without insurance, would not have to risk going into debt in order to protect themselves against this deadly virus. Without access to affordable coverage or treatment, our families, communities and economy are at risk.

Maine cannot recover from this virus if our working families cannot afford to take care of themselves or their loved ones. Sign here to tell your legislators: we need a COVID-19 Patient Bill of Rights.

© 2019 Mainers for Working Famililes