Today, Connecticut Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro introduced The Family and Medical Insurance Leave (FAMILY) Act — legislation that would establish a national paid family and medical leave insurance program.
According to a press release, for the price of “one tall latte a week”…”The FAMILY Act would create an independent trust fund within the Social Security Administration to collect fees and provide benefits. This 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 press release notes that “benefit levels, based on existing successful state programs in New Jersey and California, would equal 66 percent of an individual’s typical monthly wages up to a capped monthly amount that would be indexed for inflation. The proposal makes leave available to every individual regardless of the size of their current employer and regardless of whether such individual is currently employed by an employer, self-employed or currently unemployed, as long as the person has sufficient earnings and work history.”
(This should not be confused with the Healthy Families Act, also introduced by Rep. DeLauro, which would allow workers to earn paid sick leave to use when they are sick, to care for a sick family member, to obtain preventive care, or to address the impacts of domestic violence.)
Hartford Courant reporter Mara Lee has more on this on her Climbing Back blog and is quick to note that, without any Republican co-sponsors, the chance of the bill being passed are “slim to none”. (I think “slim” may even be too generous.)
While the prospects of a federal bill on leave insurance are next to nothing, a more interesting battle is shaping up in the state legislature. Earlier this year, the General Assembly passed Special Act 13-13, which established a task force to study the issue of FMLA insurance. The task force has now been set up and a final report is expected by October 2014.
Early minutes from the Task Force have started to be posted here.
Overall, its not a stretch to think that the prospects in Connecticut are far higher than nationally so stay tuned to see what the task force recommends.