SIGN ON: Healthcare Providers in Maine support Paid Family & Medical Leave
As health professionals, we swore an oath to take care of our patients: aiding them when they’re sick, alleviating pain where we can, and promoting good health. The current system of unpaid leave creates undue stress and burden on patients seeking care as well as their loved ones who often act as caretakers. This is why we support the creation of a Paid Family and Medical Leave program in Maine.
Whether they are welcoming a new child into the world, taking care of an ailing loved one, or recovering from an illness themselves, we know how crucial it is that our patients and their caretakers have the ability to take time off.
Paid Family and Medical Leave is good public policy that we as health care providers are proud to support. After a comprehensive review of Paid Family and Medical Leave programs in other states, and a study of the unique needs of Maine employers and workers, the bipartisan Maine Paid Family and Medical Leave Commission recommends that Maine adopt a Paid Family and Medical Leave program that would accomplish the following:
Provide all Maine workers up to 12 weeks of paid leave a year to care for a member of their family, address a personal medical issue, deal with needs related to a family member’s military deployment, or address medical or nonmedical needs arising from domestic violence or stalking. The program would provide up to 16 weeks of paid leave per year for workers who need to address some combination of those issues.
Allow all employers of fewer than 15 employees to access the benefits of a Paid Family and Medical Leave program without having to contribute a dime toward the program’s ongoing costs. Larger employers would pay a small fee equaling between 0.25% and 0.5% of employee wages in exchange for these benefits.
Provide workers on Paid Family and Medical Leave with between 80%-90% of their normal wages up to a maximum of 120% of Maine’s average weekly wage
Allow self-employed workers to opt-in to the Paid Family and Medical Leave program
Mainers should not have to choose between taking care of themselves or their loved ones and making ends meet. Paid Family and Medical Leave will allow our patients to live a healthier life by helping them balance work with their health care needs and those of their family members.
We applaud the ongoing work of Maine’s Commission to Establish a Paid Family and Medical Leave Benefits Program to design a Paid Family and Medical Leave policy that fits Maine’s unique needs. However, turning their recommendations into an enacted plan requires support from our legislative leaders and our Governor.
We call on our legislators and the Governor to support the creation of a robust Paid Family and Medical Leave program in Maine by committing a portion of Maine’s budget to fund the start up costs for a statewide Paid Family and Medical Leave program.