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  • Quinn Malter

Veterans show overwhelming support for Paid Family and Medical Leave

Over one hundred veterans and family members from across the state have signed on to a letter from Mainers For Working Families calling for the establishment of a statewide Paid Family & Medical Leave (PFML) program. The Maine State Legislature is currently considering a bill that would establish a commission to develop a PFML benefit program.

“As a veteran, I know just how hard it can be to adjust back to civilian life,” said Auta Main, a community organizer for Mainers For Working Families. “Navigating the healthcare marketplace and benefit packages offered through your employer can be very challenging. Even if a veteran is eligible for VA healthcare, their family members may not be. A Paid Family & Medical Leave program would give veterans the security to retain employment, even if they need to take time off for their health or their family’s health.”

“Our veterans gave all of themselves for our country, but when they return home, they’re too often left behind,” said Evan LeBrun, Executive Director of Mainers For Working Families. “We need to do everything we can to help them readjust to life at home, while giving them the time and support they need to heal. A statewide Paid Family & Medical Leave program is crucial for our veterans, so they can care for themselves and support their loved ones, without losing their job.”

A comprehensive statewide PFML benefit program would provide Mainers with extended paid time off to care for a loved one or take care of a personal medical issue.

“We know that veterans experience mental health disorders, substance use disorders, post-traumatic stress, and traumatic brain injury at a higher rate than people who have not served, and that about 20 veterans a day commit suicide,” the letter states.

“That’s why we, the undersigned, are advocating that Maine create a paid family and medical leave benefit program. We believe that this type of public policy is particularly important for veterans and their families.” To read the full letter, click here.

The Maine State Legislature is currently considering LD 1559, “An Act To Create the Commission To Develop a Paid Family and Medical Leave Benefits Program.” This bill, if passed, would bring together experts on postpartum and maternal care, elder care, employers, and members of the Legislature with expertise on labor issues and family and medical benefits to help make PFML a reality.

The Labor and Housing Committee will host a public hearing on LD 1559 on Friday, May 7 at 9:00 A.M. ET. You can view the hearing on the committee’s YouTube channel.


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