Â Paid family leave is becoming law in Washington state. The state legislature passed and Gov. Jay Inslee has signed a law giving workers up to 12 weeks of paid family leave for birth, adoption, or the workerâ€™s own or a family memberâ€™s medical condition, and up to 16 weeks in a year:
The Washington state program would benefit low-wage workers because those earning less than half of the stateâ€™s weekly average would receive 90 percent of their incomeâ€”to a maximum of $1,000 per week. The benefits are based on a percentage of the workerâ€™s average weekly wage and the stateâ€™s weekly average wage, which was $1,133 in 2016.
The program is largely funded by workers, who will pay a premium of 0.4 percent of their wages each paycheck into a state-run insurance fund. This would cost a minimum-wage worker about 3 cents an hour, according to the billâ€™s sponsor. Employers are responsible for picking up at least 55 percent of the medical leave premiumâ€”or more if they choose to do so.
â€śThis new law is an affordable and predictable solution to providing an important benefit for lifeâ€™s emergencies,â€ťÂ Sara Reilly, co-owner of Darbyâ€™s CafĂ© and Three Magnets Brewing Co. in Olympia, Washington, said in a statement.
Howâ€™s that for a much-needed piece of good news? But of course every time a state or city passes a minimum wage increase, paid sick leave, or paid family leave, itâ€™s a reminder of how far short our federal laws fall, and how much of a fight we have to elect Democrats to Congress and the presidency before we can change this.