Two state legislators are taking their constituents’ concerns into account for the Family Care Act. The bill would create a state insurance fund for employees who are caring for loved ones with serious health emergencies.
State Rep. Wendi Thomas (R-Bucks) joined State Sen. Maria Collett (D-Montgomery/Bucks) heard from dozens of citizens who wanted to give their input on paid family leave. Thomas introduced HB 1739 in the state House. Collett co-sponsored a sister bill in the state Senate.
One panelist stated their law firm Antheil Maslow & MacMinn would simply be unable to provide the same level of support on their own.
“As a small business owner employing 37 people, a constant concern is the ability to compete for talent. Small businesses can’t afford to provide paid leave on their own. However, the Family Care Act will allow us to compete with larger firms when it comes to attracting and keeping the best candidates,” said Susan Maslow.
The insurance plan would be funded by a payroll deduction of half a penny per dollar earned. While it would also cover days for self care, Thomas says the priority is caring for loved ones.
“The number one reason I hear for working Pennsylvanians needing time off is to
care for an elderly parent,” said Representative Thomas.
One couple was unable to attend the conversation, but testified at a different meeting. Maria Kefalas is the mother of her nine-year-old daughter Calliope Joy. Cal has a neurodegenerative illness and an issue could strike at any time.
“Cal and I spend a lot of time together in the PICU. I’m one of the lucky few parents who has paid leave through my employer – but most of the other parents in the PICU don’t, meaning they can’t be with their children when they most need them. It breaks my heart.”
The bills are currently sitting in their respective Labor and Industry Committees.