Being a new parent in the United States can be devastating. Moms have to accrue as many vacation and PTO days as they can in order to stay with their babies — and avoid having to go to work after a painful delivery or major abdominal surgery. Some are unable to afford to lose their income, even for a few weeks.
As a result of the lack of paid leave, babies are often left at daycare when they are still too young, and the important mother-child bond suffers an insurmountable loss. Sometimes leaving infants under the care of someone other than their parents can result in severe injury or even their death, something that could have potentially been avoided had their parents had more time to spend with them without worrying about their finances.
Washington state is finally doing something about this terrifying situation. As of 2019, workers and employers will start paying into a system that will result in 12 weeks of paid family leave for everyone in the state as of 2020. The bill was signed into law on Wednesday by Gov. Jay Inslee. Only four other states in the country have similar laws in place.
This is great news for growing families, as it will result in less financial stress and more bonding time for new parents with their babies, including adopted children. Families can get up to 18 weeks — if there are certain complications — of leave paid by their employers.
Not only parents will qualify for the leave, sick employees or those with a sick relative are also eligible for paid leave, so almost anyone can benefit from the program. Still, the new law has some detractors. Patrick Connor, with the National Federation of Independent Business, said that employers and employees will be surprised when they learn that they are supporting “an insurance program that they or their families are not interested in using.”
But supporters of the law argue that anyone can benefit from this program, even if they are not interested in using it for the time being. Marilyn Watkins, who is with the Economic Opportunity Institute, said that they anticipate that “about two-thirds of the program use will, in fact, be for the workers’ own health condition.”
[Featured Image by Halfpoint/iStockPhoto]