ICYMI: Virginians Need Paid Family and Medical Leave

Richmond, Virginia—Republicans once again punted on making a decision on a statewide policy on paid family and medical leave when a bipartisan body adjourned for the year yesterday without making any recommendations. But with elections coming up in just two weeks, voters will have the opportunity to make their voices heard on this issue. And they are saying loud and clear that they want people who will vote to solve this problem now to represent them in Richmond.

Too many families are struggling to balance work and family obligations. New parents are being forced to return to work before they and their children are ready. Loved ones are unable to hold the hand of a loved one during chemo treatments or at their deathbed. Hardworking employees too often cannot take time off from work to receive treatment for or recover from serious health issues. All of these problems would be solved if lawmakers passed strong paid family and medical leave so that everyone in our community can balance work and family obligations without worrying about making ends meet or getting fired. 

“Everyone in our community should be able to live and raise their families with dignity.  But too many workers don’t see their hard work honored with the ability to take paid time off to welcome a new child, care for a sick family member, or recover from a health emergency,” Anna Scholl, Executive Director of Progress Virginia said. “It’s disappointing that lawmakers once again have declined to make a decision on paid family and medical leave. But voters are paying attention and will vote for candidates who will support them and their families with a robust paid family and medical leave as soon as they are elected.” 


Partisan divide remains on plans to mandate paid sick leave in Virginia [Ned Oliver, Virginia Mercury]

“A bipartisan panel of lawmakers reviewing proposals that would require Virginia businesses to give their employees paid sick and family leave adjourned for the year without offering a recommendation one way or the other.”

“Though no formal votes were taken, Democrats on the committee spoke in favorable terms about both proposals. Meanwhile, some Republicans sounded open to the 24-hour proposal put forward by House Democrats and somewhat skeptical of Boysko’s proposed plan, which would offer up to 12 weeks of leave per year, funded by a payroll tax that would generate more than $1 billion every year.”

“So far, 13 states and numerous cities have instituted mandatory paid sick days, according to Families Value @ Work, a national paid leave advocacy group. Another eight states, plus Washington, D.C., have created paid Family and Medical Leave programs.”

“‘This could be a start of being on the side of workers in Virginia,’ said Del. Elizabeth Guzman, D-Prince William, the lead patron of the House bill.”

“Democrats on the committee countered that Virginia is at the bottom of rankings for worker protections and argued that there is a cost to that as well. ‘To be number one for business and last for workers – that’s a problem,’ said House Minority Leader Eileen Filler-Corn, D-Fairfax. ‘We must do better.’”