Tuesday, February 4, 2014
 

 

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Senator, congressman promote paid family and medical leave

NEWBURGH – Legislation that would create paid family and medical leave was promoted in Newburgh on Monday afternoon when US Senator Kirsten Gillibrand and Congressman Sean Patrick Maloney, both Democrats, came to the Greater Hudson Valley Family Health Center.

The Family and Medical Insurance Leave Act would establish a national paid family and medical leave insurance program so workers would not have to choose between a paycheck and caring for themselves or a family member, said Gillibrand.

“In every other industrialized, wealthy country in the world they have paid leave,” the senator said.  “Europe has up to six months. Even Afghanistan and Pakistan have paid leave, but we do not have paid leave in this country, and because of that when forced to meet a family need, an urgent care need, often times women are forced to leave the workplace because they cannot take that time off unpaid because they cannot afford to not be able to pay their mortgage or make a car payment.”

The FAMILY ACT would create an independent trust fund within the Social Security Administration to collect fees and provide benefits. The trust would be funded by employee and employer contributions of 0.2 percent of wages each, creating a self-sufficient program that would not add to the federal budget.

The anticipated cost to the average worker would be the price of a cup of coffee a week.

“When a young parent needs time to care for a newborn child – it should never come down to an outdated policy that lets her boss decide how long it will take – and decide the fate of her career and her future along with it,” Gillibrand said. “When anyone of us – man or woman – needs time to care for a dying parent – we should not have to sacrifice our job and risk our future to do the right think for our family.”

Maloney said he was able to care for his children when they were small and as his parents age, he wants to be there for them.

“None of my neighbors in the Hudson Valley should have to struggle to put food on the table while caring for a newborn child or elderly parents,” Maloney said.