print Print    Share Share  
Weekly Email Weekly News Email   RSS Feed News RSS  

Feminist News


Rhode Island Now Third State with Paid Family Leave Program

On Wednesday, Rhode Island became the third U.S. state to offer a paid family leave program, which will make most of the state workforce eligible to take paid time off to care for a new child or a sick loved one.

"It's for those unexpected, serious health crises that people can't plan for," said Senator Gayle Goldin (D-RI). "It's a very useful tool for families facing a challenge."

The program will be funded through a paycheck deduction, similar to Social Security. The benefit would equal 66 percent of an employee's paycheck, but it is capped for workers who make over $61,400 per year.

A similar federal program, The Family and Medical Insurance Leave Act (FAMILY Act), was introduced in December by Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro (D-CT) and Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY). If passed, the much-needed Act will allow workers to take paid time off to address a serious illness of their own, a spouse, parent or child or to care for a new baby or adopted child. If passed, employees can earn up to 12 weeks of paid family leave each year through the creation of a national insurance fund.

Currently, only 12 percent of U.S. workers have access to paid family leave and fewer than 40 percent have paid medical leave, meaning many workers - particularly women and low wage employees - are just one illness or birth away from financial disaster.

Media Resources: Associated Press via 1/1/14; The Washington Post 12/29/13; Feminist Majority 12/12/13; Feminist Newswire 12/12/13