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Paid FMLA leave may benefit economy and workers

The Family Medical Leave Act was a steppingstone when it became law 21 years ago. Throughout the years, the FMLA has allowed individuals to keep their jobs when dealing with such issues as a family emergency or caring for a baby. There are still improvements to be made with the FMLA though, such as family and medical leave becoming paid.

In his recent State of the Union address, the president expressed support for the FMLA to become a paid leave for every state. He expressed how it is time for families to not risk losing a paycheck or their job when they need time off work to care for members of their family.

Only a few states, such as New Jersey, California and Rhode Island have made family and medical leave a paid leave. It would be great to see Indiana follow in the footsteps of these states and pass paid family and medical leave as well.

The focus seems to be on women receiving paid leave for family and medical reasons, as women are reported to make up the majority of not only the workforce but also the majority of informal or family caregivers. Thus, this paid leave may benefit women more in the long run.

There are many benefits to paid leave being passed in all states. The states where paid leave exists have shown that it can provide better job security and lower unemployment rates. Paid leave may also provide financial independence and economic growth. Businesses can also benefit from employees receiving paid leave by reducing the costs associated with replacing a worker.

With all of the benefits of paid family and medical leave, it shows that it is essential for Indiana to consider adjusting its laws. Until Indiana passes paid leave, we need to continue to hope for a better future when it comes to our jobs.

Source: Huffington Post, “Paid leave keeps women in their jobs and that’s good for the economy,” Linda Meric, Jan. 31, 2014

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