Good news for caregivers in President Obama’s budget proposal

Amidst all the news about President Obama’s 2013 budget in the last few weeks, you may have missed a modest, but important line item.

As outlined here, the newly-created State Paid Leave Fund would provide $5 million to assist states in starting paid family leave insurance programs – programs that would allow workers to take paid time off to care for sick family members and new children.

Right now, North Carolina’s workers don’t have any access to state or federal job-protected paid leave when they need time off to care for a sick relative or to bond with a new child. The federal Family Medical Leave Act offers up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave for those working for larger employers, but many North Carolinians can’t afford unpaid leave, especially during a sluggish economy.

Research has shown that family leave insurance is good for caregivers and good for the economy.  For instance, a recent study from the Center for Women and Work at Rutgers shows that women with paid leave are more likely to be working 9-12 months after a child’s birth than those without leave. And those who use paid leave are almost 40 percent less likely to need public assistance.

California and New Jersey have implemented family leave insurance programs, which are funded through an employee payroll tax at no cost to employers. North Carolina can follow the lead of these states to ensure that workers do not have to face the impossible choice between being a caregiver and being a provider.  The $5 million allotted in the President’s Budget could go a long way in helping states like North Carolina explore and eventually implement a state paid leave system.

Check out the Justice Center’s report on the importance of work-family policies in North Carolina to learn more about family leave insurance and other workplace policies that support workers, families, and our economy.

6 Comments

  1. Andrew

    February 27, 2012 at 1:45 pm

    I love it ! Everyone has their hand out now. There is a limitless supply of money for all.

  2. Rob Schofield

    February 27, 2012 at 2:52 pm

    Yeah right, just like the five-day week and laws banning child labor were “handouts.”

  3. gregflynn

    February 27, 2012 at 2:56 pm

    It’s a relatively small amount of start-up money for an insurance program that will be funded by the beneficiaries, not a hand-out. When you’ve lived life a little longer you’ll understand the need to take unscheduled time to care for a partner, a child or a parent.

    I have a six year old friend who was bouncing around a gym a month ago, suddenly diagnosed with leukemia, now lying in a hospital bed with all her hair fallen out from chemo, facing a minimum year long treatment. Life doesn’t stick to a script.

  4. Jack

    February 28, 2012 at 8:27 am

    Andy:

    Do you mean you love that people have their hand out in the same sense that corporations had their hand out to accept bail out money or are you being sarcastic?

  5. Izug

    February 28, 2012 at 12:30 pm

    Gregflynn is right on target. This is startup money for a program that will be paid for by the people who use it — and the only people who will qualify to use it will be those who work.

  6. Yoli

    March 6, 2012 at 2:59 pm

    Don’t be fooled. Maybe ya all missed the cuts to services to elderly and disabled in Obama care. Gosh, why are people so easily seduced by one thing, so that they miss the bigger picture? Obamacare is about the worst thing ever for disabled, sick, eldelry folks. Know your surroundings. Obama machine tosses you a few crumbs and you go wowie, that’s so awesome, thanks so much, and meanwhile they are slashing billions to make sure your disabled, sick family member gets nothing.