February 5 was the 25th anniversary of the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), a good first step in providing some workers the ability to take twelve weeks off to care for a new child, ill family member, or tend to personal health issue.
Unfortunately, FMLA doesn’t cover all workers, and even those covered cannot always afford to take unpaid leave. No one should have to choose between taking care of a loved one and their financial security. It is time Ohio adopted a Paid Family Leave Insurance Program, which would guarantee workers some pay when they need time to care for a new child, ill family member, or tend to a personal health issue.
This bill will allow all Ohio workers to pay into the Paid Family Leave Fund, and they will be eligible for benefits after working 680 hours over a year. Workers that do not wish to participate can simply opt out. Premiums for workers are expected to be $1-$2 per week.
Having access to paid leave supports our families, our business community, and our local economy. Preserving financial stability increases positive health outcomes for children, and reduces the need for other types of public assistance. It increases workforce participation by preventing turnover, and encourages worker engagement.
By adopting a state wide paid family leave policy, we will be sending a message across the country that Ohio is a place where you can work and take care of your family. It gives our young workforce a reason to stay in Ohio to raise their families, and it gives our business community another tool to recruit talent away from other states. Our businesses, our local economy, and millions of Ohio families’ financial security depends on it.