Monumental passage of paid family and medical leave bill, advocates excited to move forward

DELAWARE – A monumental time in the first state after the recent passage of Senate Bill 1, the Healthy Delaware Families Act which creates a statewide paid family and medical leave insurance program. Its passage makes Delaware the 11th state in the nation to do so. “Ultimately, no one should have to face the impossible choice between their family and their job, between their health and their paycheck,” says Senator Sarah McBride.

Liz Richards, Director of the Delaware Cares Coalition who led many efforts in getting this bill passed tells us, this is a win, win situation. “It’s something that is not just going to answer today’s challenges but creates stability and financial security for families in Delaware for years and years,” says Richards.

The efforts to get this piece of legislation through the general assembly took the work of over 50 different organizations in Delaware, including the Delaware cares coalition and the ACLU. “From the labor community, the business community, the faith community, and the health community all working together saying this is something we absolutely need,” says Richards.

The bill creates a family and medical trust fund in Delaware through payroll contributions and split evenly between a worker and their employer. With its passage, getting the infrastructure in place is the next step. “There has to be a whole department of labor set up for people to be able to help Delawareans navigate the system,” says Javonne Rich, Advocacy and Policy Director at DE ACLU. She adds, “The agencies that have to do the work know, hey we have to do this and they know that now is really wonderful and helps jump-start the work.”

Although the bill now waits for the Governor’s signature, proponents of this bill say this is essential in keeping both the economy and Delawareans healthy and thriving. “We can’t stop all loss or all pain as elected officials but we can make life a little bit easier for people when hard times hit,” says Sen. McBride. Richards adds, “The mothers, the fathers, the parents that are going to be impacted, and the caregivers, the family members who care for loved ones, this is for them”

Part of the bill does state businesses with fewer than 25 workers will not be required to participate in the medical and family care-giving component of the program, and businesses with fewer than 10 workers are not required to participate in parental leave, but they can opt-in.

If Governor john Carney signs the bill, the law would go into effect in 2025.

Categories: Delaware, Local News, Local Politics