Should Family Leave be Paid? Listen up & weigh in on OPB
Here's how they describe the show - and the issue:
Should workers receive paid family leave to care for a newborn or a sick relative? It's a question being debated in the Oregon Legislature, which last week heard testimony on a bill that would create a state insurance program to accomplish just that. Under the proposal, workers at companies with 25 or more employees would be assessed a two cent per hour payroll tax for a state fund which would then provide $300 a week in paid leave for full-time employees up to six weeks. Part-time workers would receive pro-rated benefits. (Similar legislation narrowly failed in the state Senate in 2007.)
Currently, workers who meet specified criteria are generally eligible for up to 12 weeks of unpaid family leave under state law (a period which can be extended under certain conditions), but paid leave is not mandatory.
This isn't just an issue in Oregon. In the nation's capitol, a bill is pending in Congress that would create a paid family and medical leave insurance program, and other legislation is under consideration which would provide some paid leave for federal workers.
Supporters of paid family leave like Regan Gray of Children First For Oregon call the bill "life happening insurance." Meanwhile, detractors, such as J.L. Wilson, a business lobbyist with Associated Oregon Industries say the bill is "government at its worst." He worries that the program will be unsustainable and lead to further taxes on workers or businesses and will be unfair to those who don't need such leave.
Participate! There are a bunch of ways to help our campaign during this show: Tell your friends and family about it, post a comment on the show's blog - they use it for questions during the show, call in and share your story or opine. Opining, of course, is always good.