Thanks to the New Jersey State AFL-CIO and affiliates, our state paved the way for the nation by enacting one of the country’s first Paid Family Leave laws. The program has benefitted hundreds of thousands of workers, and worries that the program could impact the bottom line of businesses have proven unfounded.
Recognizing the success of Paid Family Leave, the state Senate and Assembly have passed legislation that would increase effectiveness and accessibility. The bill is now on the Governor’s desk awaiting approval. As a leading proponent of the bill, the New Jersey State AFL-CIO calls on the Governor to sign the expansion into law so that hundreds of thousands more working families can achieve a better work/life balance without putting their jobs or livelihoods at stake.
New Jersey Policy Perspective has provided a great deal of research on the issue and below is their summary of what the bill would do:
- Significantly raise the wage replacement rate and ceiling, so more families can afford to take the leave they need
- Expand job protections for workers taking leave
- Expand the definition of family to allow workers to take time to care for a sibling, grandparent, grandchild or parent-in-law
- Expand the amount of time available from 6 to 12 weeks
- Allow workers to take leave to help family affected by domestic and/or sexual violence
What is clear is that Paid Family Leave has made New Jersey a better place to work and live and the chance to build on this success is an opportunity we should embrace. Not only have workers benefited, but since the program is funded by worker contributions of about 60 cents per week, the program has not raised costs on businesses. In fact, by ensuring universal access to Paid Family Leave, small businesses that would not have been able to afford such a policy on their own, can better compete with larger businesses in terms of benefits now.
While the politics may be tricky, the facts are clear that this expansion is the right thing to do for New Jersey. As we call on the Governor to sign this bill, we thank you for your ongoing solidarity and support.