Rhode Island recently became the third state in the nation to adopt a family leave insurance policy after Governor Lincoln Chafee signed into law the Temporary Caregiver Insurance bill on Wednesday.
The new law ensures workers can take up to four weeks of leave at two-thirds of their regular wages to care for an ailing family member or bond with a new child. It also sets a new standard in the movement to advance work-family protections by guarantees job security for workers when they need to leave to take care of a seriously ill family member or new child.
“In Rhode Island we value hard work and family. Temporary Caregiver Insurance lives up to those ideals,” said Governor Lincoln Chafee, a long-time supporter of the bill, in a statement. “I am proud to sign this bill on behalf of Rhode Island’s families and make our state a national leader in policies that support working families.”
Rhode Island already has a successful Temporary Disability Insurance program, in existence since 1942. TCI builds off that program and extends replacement income to workers needing to take time off for caregiving. The new program is revenue neutral, funded solely through employee contributions, which amount to about $0.64 a week per worker for those earning $40,060 a year.
The pooled payments provide replacement income to keep families afloat during caregiving times.
“The passage of Temporary Caregiver Insurance is a great victory for Rhode Island’s families and our economy,” said Senator Gayle Goldin, D-3, who championed the bill in the Senate. “This law keeps money in people’s pockets when they need it most and means no one will lose his or her job when dealing with a serious family crisis or welcoming a new child into their home.”
California and New Jersey have similar paid family leave insurance programs. In California, the program generates estimated savings for employers of $89 million a year, according to a 2011 study.
Written by Alyssa Gerace