HARRISBURG – April 18, 2019 – Senator Maria Collett (D-Montgomery/Bucks) and Senator Dan Laughlin (R-Erie) have introduced “The Family Care Act” to establish a statewide Family and Medical Leave Insurance Program. Every day, Pennsylvanians struggle to care for themselves and their loved ones without access to paid family and medical leave. Too often this means families collapsing into financial ruin because of a cancer diagnosis or the birth of a new child.
In 2018, the Swain family of Upper Moreland Township received the news that their infant daughter Emersyn had a congenital heart defect. Without access to paid family and medical leave, Emersyn’s parents struggled to make ends meet while spending months in the hospital with their daughter before her tragic passing. According to Emersyn’s mother Jackie: “In Emersyn’s honor, we’ve dedicated ourselves to advocating for paid family and medical leave to ensure other families can care for their loved ones without worrying about financial hardship or losing their job.”
“No one should have to choose between caring for a sick family member and keeping their job,” said Senator Collett. “This legislation will help provide the flexibility and financial security that hard-working Pennsylvanians like the Swain family deserve.”
“The program created by this legislation would provide a basic ‘safety net’ that would allow for some financial stability for families during their time of need,” said Senator Laughlin. “In times of crisis, especially when it involves a serious health issue, families have enough to be concerned about without having to worry about how they are going to pay their bills.”
Under “The Family Care Act,” all working individuals would make small contributions from their weekly earnings to the leave program, which would be administered by the Department of Labor & Industry. Workers can then utilize the fund when they need it – to care for themselves or a close family member in the event of a serious health condition, to care for a new child, or to care for a member of the military in qualifying circumstances. Leave benefits will be calculated on a graduated scale to make sure the program is accessible to all workers, regardless of how much they earn.