LA FAMILY LEAVE - A new coalition of Louisiana groups are putting their support behind a proposal to create a paid family and medical leave program. Sen. J.P. Morrell, Democrat from New Orleans gathered last week with a group of fellow lawmakers, state officials and advocacy groups outside the state capitol to call for a paid family leave arrangement that would help family members to care for newborns and ailing relatives. It’s an effort that is similar to federal legislation being spearheaded in part by Louisiana U.S. Sen. Bill Cassidy a Republican. Morrell explained how his bill would work with Public Radio KUAR in Baton Rouge.
"Just like businesses and employees pay into a workers comp pool," explained Morrell, "you’d pay into a paid family leave pool. It’d be a very small amount, but it’d create a pool statewide that would be drawn from whenever someone has to utilize family leave."
The automatic contribution made to the family leave pool would be less than half of one percent of an employee’s salary, split almost evenly by the employee and their company.
"The reality is that in a state as poor as ours, you have to find a way to balance the interest of making sure the businesses can still provide quality jobs to their employees, while providing this resource," said Morrell.
The current federal Family and Medical Leave Act protects an employee’s job during their absence, but doesn’t guarantee their pay. Morrell's bill would provide paid leave for up to 12 weeks, and not just for new parents. Caretakers, military families facing deployment and those recovering from domestic abuse could also qualify.