Investing in Paid Leave:
Frequently Asked Questions
What is paid leave?
At some point, nearly everyone faces a moment when they need leave, whether it’s to bond with a new baby, care for an aging parent, or recover from an illness. Paid leave – including family leave, parental leave, and medical leave – replaces a portion of an employee’s wages during leave and gives them the peace of mind of being able to still make ends meet while caring for a loved one.
How would paid leave work?
For a few dollars a month, Montana workers could have the peace of mind of being able to make ends meet while caring for themselves and loved ones.
Montana would create a family medical leave insurance program (FMLI). Through shared contributions by employers and employees, representing less than half of one percent of wages, eligible workers – of all income levels – would receive a portion of their wages while on leave.
How does investing in paid leave support working parents in Montana?
Paid leave helps parents remain financially secure while balancing home and work demands.
How does investing in paid leave support caregivers in Montana?
Thousands of Montana families are grappling with how to care for adult family members while also balancing their own work life.
How does investing in paid leave support businesses?
A statewide paid leave program helps businesses attract and retain skilled workers.
Don’t workers already get time off when they’re sick or have children?
Only 13 percent of American workers have access to paid family leave through their employers.
- Only 13 percent of American workers have paid family leave through their employers, less than 40 percent have medical leave, and over one-third have no paid sick leave.
- In Montana, two out of three workers are not covered by the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA). Additionally, the majority of covered Montana workers earn low-wages and cannot afford FMLA’s unpaid leave.
- Low-income earners have far less access to paid leave. In 2014, three out of four low-wage earners did not have access to paid sick or paid family leave through their employers.
What does paid leave look like in other states?
Four states have enacted statewide paid family and medical leave programs, and dozens of other states are considering similar proposals.
- These states have created statewide family and medical leave insurance programs, which cover as many workers as possible and reduce individual contributions. The programs are funded by nominal contributions shared between employers and employees.
- In 2015, 23 states and DC proposed similar paid leave bills during legislative sessions.
What should Montana consider in its paid leave program?
Montana has the opportunity to learn from other states and consider a program that will provide the greatest amount of assistance to businesses and workers.
- Workers should receive at least 12 weeks of paid leave for: the birth, adoption, or foster placement of a child, to care for a seriously ill family member, or to recover from a serious illness or non-work related injury.
- Low-wage earners should receive a greater portion of their weekly wages, enabling them to better make ends meet during leave. Benefits could be scaled down as income increases and still allow higher-income earners to remain financially secure during leave.
- Providing a broad definition of family takes into account the varied forms of family in the 21st century.