Ohio lawmakers are considering a bill that would give most employees in Ohio up to 12 weeks of paid family leave each year.
Democratic State Representative Christie Kuhns recently had a baby. She says that made her realize how important paid family leave is. So she’s backing a bill that would have most employees, who are not already covered under a paid family leave policy, to pay into a state insurance program that would be operated much like the Bureau of Workers’ Compensation.
“Employers will withhold money from employee’s paychecks for the program. Then an employee could file a claim that would give them up to $1000 a week, based on their average weekly wage, while caring for an infant, after a birth or adoption or while caring for a relative with a serious health condition.”
Democratic State Representative Janine Boyd says the paid leave plan would lead to healthier families and would help reduce Ohio’s high infant mortality rate.
“Research shows paid leave is associated with higher immunization rates and healthier babies so this is the most pro-life you can get when you are preventing infant mortality.”
But business groups that would be affected by the bill are cautious about it. The Ohio Chamber of Commerce’s Don Boyd says his group will be looking at the bill to see how it affects businesses operating costs.
“There could be potential administrative costs to businesses in operating and essentially managing this type of program.”
Boyd says he’ll be looking at how this bill would work with existing federal family leave laws. He says it’s important to remember businesses are not one size fits all.
“What may be good for some businesses may not be good for all businesses and any time we mandate something across the board, it at least raises some concerns.”
The bill was just introduced, and does not have any Republican sponsors at this time.