Friday, December 11, 2020

 Let's Talk:
Paid Leave Legislation

In December 2020, #TeamInstitute talked with Indiana State Representative Chris Campbell and State Senator Shelli Yoder about paid family and medical leave. Read more about the Institute's work on paid family and medical leave here!

Q1. Why does #PaidLeave matter? 

Rep Campbell: Nearly every worker will - at some point - need to take time off to welcome a new baby, care for an aging loved one, or attend to their own serious medical need. #PaidLeave4Hoosers would allow Hoosiers to take that time to bond, heal, or provide care.

Q2. Right now, Indiana law guarantees workers zero days of #PaidLeave. What does that mean, exactly? 

 Rep Campbell: Not having #PaidLeave means that approximately 1 in 4 Hoosier women go back to work within 2 weeks of giving birth. It means Hoosiers can’t follow doctors’ orders or experience financial crisis because they got sick. It means caregivers struggle to be there for those they love.

Q3. Do other countries offer #PaidLeave benefits? 

Rep Campbell: Yes. The U.S. is the only industrialized country on the planet that doesn’t provide some sort of #PaidLeave to workers. Check out this World Policy Center map of countries that provide paid maternity leave, for example:

Q4. What makes a paid leave *program* a smart strategy to provide #PaidLeave4All?

Rep Campbell: Asking a small business to provide several weeks of #PaidLeave could be a heavy lift. With a #PaidLeave program, all workers & employers chip in a small amount each week to a fund, and the fund pays workers who need leave.

Q5. Do other states have #PaidLeave programs?

Rep Campbell: Yes, a growing number of states #PaidLeave programs. Currently, 9 states plus D.C. have adopted this approach & many others are actively working on similar legislation. 

Q6. Tell us a little more about your #PaidLeave4Hoosiers legislation. What benefits would it provide?

Rep Campbell: It would provide up to 12 weeks of #PaidLeave per year to all Hoosier workers who become new, adoptive, or foster parents, who are dealing with a serious medical issue, or who are caring for a seriously ill loved one.  

Q7. What are the benefits of #PaidLeave? 

Rep Campbell: There are SO MANY! Having #PaidLeave means fewer workers fall into poverty & makes families stronger. Fewer moms experience postpartum depression & more infants receive well-child checks. More people can take care of their health & more families can care for aging loved ones.

Q8. What are the benefits of #PaidLeave for business?

Rep Campbell: For businesses, #PaidLeave improves employee productivity & morale while reducing turnover. Creating a #PaidLeave program would make this highly-sought-after benefit much easier to offer, especially for small businesses, helping with recruitment. 

Q9. Would a paid leave program be helpful in a pandemic like the one we are experiencing now?

Rep Campbell: Absolutely! Anyone suffering an illness like COVID could receive #PaidLeave while sick or in the hospital. The bill also allows flexibility during public health emergencies to cover things like school closures. And #PaidLeave can prevent spread! 

Q10. What kind of feedback have you gotten on this #PaidLeave proposal? Hoosiers, what feedback do you have?

Rep Campbell: Everyone I've talked to about this program have been very positive and have experienced times or know others who would have benefitted from this type of program!

Q11. What can Hoosiers who support #PaidLeave do to help?

Rep Campbell: Hoosiers, if you support #PaidLeave, you can call and email your state representatives and ask them if they will coauthor my legislation. You can find your representatives here: 

Also, sharing your personal story - whether you had #PaidLeave & it was helpful or you didn’t & it would have been helpful – can help convince lawmakers to act.

To close our chat today, we have a great surprise for you all!! While Rep Campbell will be fighting for #PaidLeave in the Indiana House of Representatives, Senator Yoder will be filing #PaidLeave legislation in the Senate! Thank you Senator Yoder!

Senator Yoder: It is my pleasure! This is such an important issue.

Q1. We know you were limited in what you could choose to work on this session. Why did #PaidLeave rise to the top of your list?

Senator Yoder: COVID-19 has really highlighted how important it is for people to be able to care – for children, spouses, parents, or your own health. With a #PaidLeave program, we can ensure that more Hoosiers are able to be there for their health or their family w/out sacrificing financial stability.

Q2. Which of the many potential benefits of #PaidLeave is most meaningful to you?

Senator Yoder: Seeing families who couldn’t be with a family member who died of COVID, I know it’s so essential to be able to provide care to a seriously ill family member & be there at the end of life. #PaidFamilyLeave erases the financial barrier standing in the way of doing this.

Q3. What kind of support would you like from Hoosiers this session?

Senator Yoder: This bill will go to the labor committee, so letting Chairman Boots know that #PaidLeave matters & that he should give it a hearing would be most helpful. Here is his contact info:

Ok, Hoosiers, you have your marching orders! If you’d like to receive updates on other actions you can take to advance #PaidLeave4Hoosiers, please sign up here:

This conversation originally appeared as a Twitter chat between @INInstitute @campbellh26 and @SenatorYoder on 12/9/2020.

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