As 2020 ushers in a new decade, it brings with it many changes to paid family and medical leave laws throughout the U.S.—a cause for celebration for workers and their families. Washington State’s paid family and medical leave program officially went live on January 1. Workers can now receive benefits for up to 12 weeks for medical leave or family leave, up to a total of 16 weeks of benefits in a 52-week period. Nearly all employees in the state are covered, including both public and private sector workers, and self-employed workers can opt in to coverage.
Since 2015, we've worked closely with advocates and lawmakers to push for a comprehensive paid family & medical leave program in Tennessee. On Wednesday, we joined State Representative Gloria Johnson in Knoxville to announce the Tennessee Family Insurance Act, a bill to grant paid family and medical leave to all workers in the state. Under this proposal, employees would contribute a small amount each month to a paid family and medical leave insurance fund.
Written by A Better Balance’s team of women’s rights and civil rights lawyers, The Working Woman’s Pocket Guide offers a step-by-step guide to the employment rights and protections New York women have at work and when they may need time away from work. With sections on pay equity, harassment, discrimination, paid family leave, healthcare coverage, and more, the guide is an A-Z resource for working women.
After drawn out litigation, the Arizona Court of Appeals ruled earlier this year that the State’s attempts to pass legislation that prohibits cities from passing laws regarding benefits—including paid leave—violates Arizona’s paid sick and safe days ballot initiative and the Arizona Voter Protection Act. The Arizona Supreme Court has now settled the issue by refusing to interfere with the Court of Appeals decision. As a result, local governments in Arizona can pass paid leave and other benefits laws that build on all rights at the state level.
It’s long been a controversial fact that gig economy companies, like many driving, delivery, and home cleaning services, are able to circumvent federal and state labor protections by misclassifying their workers as independent contractors rather than employees. This allows these companies to increase their profit margins by denying their workers, who are ineligible to unionize, important benefits like paid sick time, paid leave, and paid time off.
We were proud to lead the hard-won fight to pass these laws, and ensure New York sets a national standard for fair and equal pay. We’re also proud of the U.S. women’s soccer players for standing up for the equal pay they deserve, and for shining a spotlight on the broad issue of pay disparity across the U.S., which impacts groups including low wage workers, single mothers, and women of color particularly harshly.
This weekend, Oregon passed a robust and inclusive paid family & medical leave law, becoming the ninth state to do so nationwide. The law will provide up to 12 weeks of income to those who need to take time off work to recover from a serious health condition, care for a seriously ill loved one, or welcome a new child, with an additional two weeks of leave available for pregnancy-related complications.
Today marked a giant step forward for gender equality, as the New York legislature passed several crucial equal pay measures. Championed by Governor Cuomo as part of his Women’s Justice Agenda, the new laws—including one prohibiting employers from asking job applicants for their salary history—will help ensure women are treated equally and fairly in the workplace.