Blog

PRESS RELEASE: Tennessee Lawmakers Fail to Consider Proposal to Provide Paid Family & Medical Leave Without Burdening Employers

This week, in both Senate and House committees, state lawmakers failed to consider the Tennessee Family Insurance Act, which would create an entirely employee-funded paid family & medical leave insurance fund.
Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin
Share on email
Blog Categories:

(Nashville, TN – March 16, 2022) This week, in both Senate and House committees, state lawmakers failed to consider the Tennessee Family Insurance Act (SB 672/HB 1295). This legislation would create an entirely employee-funded paid family & medical leave insurance fund. It was scheduled for a committee vote in both the Senate and House this week, but instead, lawmakers removed the legislation from the agenda, thus preventing discussion of this important issue for this legislative session.

Under this plan, all Tennesseans would receive up to 12 weeks of paid leave to care for a new child or a seriously-ill family member, or to recover from their own serious illness. Currently, according to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, nearly 4 in 5 workers in the South do not have access to paid family leave.

Lawmakers failed to consider this proposal despite overwhelming support from voters across the state. According to a July 2020 poll, 84% of Tennessee voters support creating an insurance plan to provide paid family & medical leave for employees.

“An employee-funded paid family & medical leave program is a win-win for Tennessee families, businesses, and the economy,” said Feroza Freeland, a cancer survivor and Policy Manager of the Southern Office at A Better Balance, a nonprofit group that helped draft the legislation. “The Tennessee Family Insurance Act promotes family economic security and keeps people attached to the workforce, without burdening employers. At some point, nearly all of us will either provide care or need it ourselves, whether we are recovering from an illness, welcoming a new child, or caring for an aging parent.”

A Better Balance has heard from countless Tennesseans about the challenges of not having access to paid leave, including Erica, a registered nurse in the Middle Tennessee area and a community advocate with A Better Balance. “My sister was in a horrible car accident due to a drunk driver. She was in the hospital for weeks, and without adequate paid leave, I could not afford to take leave without pay to be by her side everyday. My sister had a concussion, which made her forget what happened, and she would often wake up confused. There were days when she had to be at the hospital alone, because neither my mom nor I had paid family leave as an option.”

Representative Gloria Johnson, the lead bill sponsor, explained why this issue is important to her. “I have heard from many constituents who lack access to paid leave and are faced with impossible, heart-wrenching decisions between caring for their family or paying their bills,” said Representative Johnson. “This legislation is about providing financial security and peace of mind to Tennesseans during the most important and difficult moments of life.”

Categories
Scroll to Top