Here’s Why We Need to Improve Paid Family Leave

Paid leave is a huge asset to the state of New Jersey, yet it is woefully underutilized.

Published on May 24, 2017 in Economic Justice

New Jersey Policy Perspective Vice President Jon Whiten yesterday joined Assembly Speaker Vincent Prieto and partners from New Jersey Citizen Action, the AFL-CIO, AARP of New Jersey, the Main Street Alliance and others to push New Jersey to adopt sensible improvements to the state’s trailblazing paid family leave program – and NJTV was there to file this report.

As NJPP’s in-depth analysis released last month found, paid leave is a huge asset to the state of New Jersey – helping its workers, families, businesses and economy – yet it is woefully underutilized. The chief reasons are terribly inadequate wage replacements for leave-takers, and a lack of job-protected leave for 1 in 3 New Jersey workers.

“For low-income working families, who already struggle to get by in high-cost New Jersey, losing a third of your take home pay is often out of the question,” Whiten explained of the weak wage replacements. “Meanwhile, an artificially low cap on wage replacements of $633 a week means that middle-class workers are faced with the prospect of losing more than a third of their wages, an unrealistic proposition for the many middle-class families who essentially live paycheck to paycheck in our state.”

Legislation introduced yesterday by the Speaker would – like legislation introduced earlier this year by Senate President Steve Sweeney – make great strides toward improving paid leave and helping ensure more New Jersey families can use this important social insurance benefit.

Full video via the Assembly Democrats:

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