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Oregon passes nation's strongest paid family leave law

Wednesday, July 3rd, 2019

Oregon just became the eighth state to pass a paid family leave law—and it did so with the best such law in the country, a month after Connecticut passed what was then considered the best family leave law. After the bill passed the state Senate in a bipartisan 21 to six vote, Gov. Kate Brown signed it into law Monday afternoon, saying in a statement, “Now, we can finally tell parents that they no longer will have to worry about losing their pay when they are having a baby or need to care for a loved one.”

Oregon’s law, which goes into effect in 2023, will offer 12 weeks of paid leave, covering up to 100% of pay for low-wage workers. Benefits will be capped at $1,215. Connecticut’s law had been considered generous for covering up to 95% for low-wage workers. Oregon’s law will also include people affected by domestic violence in addition to new parents and people caring for ill family members or dealing with their own illness. The law also ensures that people’s jobs are guaranteed to be there when they return from leave, something you’d think would be standard in paid family leave laws but is not.

Paid family and medical leave should be the law of the entire United States, but, like paid sick leave and a higher minimum wage, congressional Republicans are blocking it even as it gains momentum in the states.

This blog was originally published at Daily Kos on July 2, 2019. Reprinted with permission.

About the Author: Laura Clawson is labor editor at Daily Kos.
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