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  • Quinn Malter

Effective Care Demands Paid Family & Medical Leave for Mainers

Without a statewide paid family and medical leave program, taking time off from work to care for a loved one in need means giving up a paycheck for many workers in Maine.

Alicia Barnes was one of those workers. When her son was hospitalized, she had to choose between being present for him during medical procedures or earning a paycheck to pay for his treatment.

“I felt bad that I couldn’t just be with my son during his tests, and I’m on a work call because I can’t afford to lose four hours of pay,” Alicia recalls.

Maine currently offers an unpaid Family & Medical Leave program, but in a state where many working families struggle to cover a surprise $400 expense, using it isn’t necessarily an option.

This year, Maine passed legislation establishing a commission that will craft an implementation plan for a statewide Paid Family & Medical Leave program by studying similar programs in other states. Introduced by Senator Mattie Daughtry, the commission will be made up of experts and everyday Mainers, including veterans, parents, and small business owners.

Maine will join nine other states and Washington, D.C. in providing paid family and medical leave. The commission’s legislation will ensure that no Mainer will need to choose between a paycheck or taking care of themselves or their loved ones.

Mainers for Working Families applauds Sen. Daughtry, Gov. Janet Mills, and our representatives in Augusta for their leadership and commitment to improving the lives of working Mainers. We look forward to seeing the commission’s efforts in action in the near future.

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