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Workers seek paid family and medical leave

One of the most challenging things for working fathers and mothers is to balance in their family responsibilities. This can include having enough family time to avoid getting burnt out from just working all the time. It can also include taking care of ill daughters and sons, and having paternity and maternity leave at the birth of a baby. For some, unpaid leave is enough. In those cases, the time off provided by the Family and Medical Leave Act suffices. Others are fortunate enough to have generous amounts of paid leave accorded to them by their employer.

Others, however, need more paid leave than is currently available to them. To help those folks, some legislators in the United States Congress are proposing a fund to help. It would pay a worker approximately two-thirds of their regular wages for a period of up to 12 weeks. This time could be taken to care for a child, such as a newborn, or to take care of an elderly family member.

Three states, California, New Jersey and Rhode Island, are covering family leave by expanding their state disability insurance programs. The Obama Administration is offering grants to other states, so they can study the feasibility of offering the same benefit. California uses part of their state payroll tax for a fund to cover part of the salary for eligible workers they go on leave.

The issue will continue to be very important for many families. Whether caring for elderly parents or taking time to care for a newborn baby or sick child, paid family leave will continue to be critical for working fathers and working mothers across the U.S.

Those who have difficulties using their FMLA leave or experience repercussions for doing so may have legal options available.

Source: Baltimore Sun, "A push for paid family leave" Sep. 18, 2014

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