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Daily Court Reporter - News Mandatory paid leave proposed for Ohio workers

 

Mandatory paid leave proposed for Ohio workers

KEITH ARNOLD, Daily Reporter Staff Writer

A Democrat plan in the Ohio House of Representatives calls for 12 weeks paid maternity or paternity leave, medical care for an individual and care of a child, parent or spouse with a serious medical condition.

Capped at $1,000 per week, the amount employees would receive would be based on their earnings, Columbus Rep. Kristin Boggs said during testimony before members of the Insurance Committee.

The Paid Family and Medical Leave Act, filed as House Bill 91, will send a message across the country that Ohio is a place you can work and take care your family, the lawmaker and joint sponsor of the measure added.

"The reality is that 100 percent of Ohio's workforce needs leave at some point," Boggs said. "Ohio's businesses are dealing with this issue every day.

"This legislation creates the framework to provide our workforce compensation and security to deal with the inevitable realities that we all face in life."

Eligibility begins after an individual has worked 680 hours during the past year, regardless of employer, the plan detailed.

Any eligible Ohio worker would be entitled to 12 weeks of paid leave to care for a new baby, care for a child, parent, or spouse with a serious medical condition or care for himself if he suffers from a serious medical condition.

Ohio Job and Family Services would administer the program, Boggs said.

"The cost of the program will be determined by ODJFS," she continued. "The director of ODJFS will be charged with completing an actuarial study to determine the premium amounts sufficiently necessary to fund the program.

"Program benefits will be paid by assessing premiums on employees - we do not know exactly how much these premiums will be, but in other states that passed paid leave workers pay $1-$2 per week.

The lawmaker said she believes the cost of such a program would be offset significantly by the economic benefits.

"The (U.S.) Department of Labor estimates that paid family leave would add $500 billion the economy," Boggs said.

More than 75 percent of people who take a leave of absence from work in the US, do so to care for a seriously ill, injured, elderly or disabled loved one; his or her own serious personal injury, illness or disability, or to address the deployment or injury of a military service member in their family, Cleveland Heights Rep. Janine Boyd noted to her peers.

"One in six Americans provide unpaid care for an aging or chronically ill parent, or a person with disabilities," Boyd continued. "Seventy percent of people caring for their parents are more likely to fall into poverty due to their dual roles."

Pressure on the nation's workforce is exerted further by the number of Baby Boomers aging out of employment and by an ongoing opioid-addiction problem that wrecks nearly 5,000 families a year.

"That leaves children in need of care, whether it's kinship, adoption, or foster care," Boyd said. "This policy is a solution to help these newly formed families come together and adjust to their new environment without the economic anxieties of taking unpaid time off work.

"And, honestly, we can not discuss maternal and infant mortality as a legislative priority, without discussing legislation like HB 91, and the lifesaving chance it can give to working pregnant women who require amended work hours or bedrest, more frequent doctor visits, for their health and the health of their pregnancy."

The bill's sponsors noted Gov. Mike DeWine's commitments to improving support of the state's youngest constituents.

"My district has more college students than any other district in Ohio - over 50 percent of my constituents are under the age of 50," Boggs said. "They are the caregivers.

"This bill will help prevent them from leaving and starting families elsewhere, and it will help our business community attract talent away from other states."

The bill, which had not been scheduled a second hearing at time of publication, enjoys overwhelming support among House Democrats.

Date Published: May 27, 2019

 

Copyright © 2019 The Daily Reporter - All Rights Reserved

 

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