The Paid Family Medical Leave Commission Releases Its Report.
This week, The Commission To Develop a Paid Family and Medical Leave Benefits Program released its recommendations for a comprehensive Paid Family and Medical Leave (PFML) program.
Members of the Commission— consisting of bipartisan legislators, corporate and small business representatives, and health and labor experts — have been working together closely over the last year and a half to develop a PFML program that works for every Mainer.
“The Commission members all agreed on the goal to create a paid family and medical leave benefits program that is affordable, accessible and is straightforward to navigate by employers and employees,” stated the Commission in the report. Some of the major findings, which received unanimous support from Commission members, include:
Recommending a 12-week maximum limit for a particular qualifying need and a 16-week combined maximum limit. When it comes to having a baby, an individual may take leave to bond with a newborn or adopted child within the first 12 months of benefits being paid out.
Mirroring the reasons for leave that are permissible under the federal Family and Medical Leave Act (to care for a new child, to care for a family member with a serious health condition, or military deployment) with the addition of safe leave, which addresses medical and non-medical needs stemming from domestic violence, harassment or stalking.
Ensuring the program includes all employees (full-time, part-time, temporary and seasonal workers, both in the private and public sector). Self-employed workers can opt into the program. Employees eligible for benefits must have worked within the prior four quarters.
Guaranteeing that the proposed program will be free for small business owners with less than 15 employees. The total cost for larger employers and employees will be less than one percent of an employee's paycheck.
We know that every single person who needs to take time off to care for themselves or their loved one should not have to risk their paycheck to do so. And, with more and more families struggling to make ends meet, it’s critical that we have a PFML program that works for all of us.
We’re grateful for the Commission’s work, but now it’s the Legislature’s turn.