Push to get Delawareans paid family and medical leave
DELAWARE – Monday morning, over 35 Delaware organizations launched a coalition to pass paid family and medical leave. For years, some Delaware families have had to choose between working and taking care of their family. If enacted, this law would allow families to take a paid 12 weeks for family or medical leave.
One of the sponsors of this bill, State Senator Sarah McBride says, “For those who are living paycheck to paycheck paid family and medical leave cannot just be the support they need, in many cases it can be life saving.” Organization directors state that the pandemic forced many Delawareans to make choices between their job and family.
However, many say this has been an ongoing issue even before the pandemic. “The pandemic has given us an opportunity to look at our systems that we have in place and make changes to better our communities,” says coalition organizer, Taysheia Grier.
Organizers tell 47 ABC, there are many families in Delaware who experience medical emergencies but still are required to choose financially providing for their family, versus physically taking care of them. “I don’t want my home if I don’t have my child and my child needs a home and I need a paycheck to pay for the things that Christopher needs,” says advocate, Nancy Lemus. Lemus has a son with a crippling disability, and due to medical and house expenses, must continue to work just to get by, and provide for her son. However, she states that not being able to be there for her son is difficult.
State Sen. McBride says, many businesses want to provide their employees with paid leave when needed but they just don’t have the means to. With a state wide law in place, State Sen. McBride says this would allow all businesses big and small to provide their employees with assistance. “We can’t stop loss we can’t stop tragedy from happening in every circumstance but what we can do is make life a little bit easier when hard times hit,” says Sen. McBride.
Coalition organizers say if it passes, many families would greatly benefit from it as many are still struggling to stay afloat during these times. “I am his advocate I am his voice and I feel his pain and I wasn’t there to do those things for him,” says Lemus. Another advocate and father adds, “Somehow along the line you can always get another job but you can’t get another family if something happens.”
Sen. McBride also says, she hopes this will gain bi-partisan support. She adds, if you are in support of this act, you should contact local legislators and tell them to support paid family and medical leave for Delawareans.
Sen. McBride, State Senate Majority Leader Bryan Townsend, and State Representative Debra Heffernan are expected to introduce legislation on this issue in the coming months.