Politics
7:00 am
Wed July 24, 2013

Ceremonial Signing at Statehouse for Temporary Caregiver Insurance Law

In a ceremonial signing, Governor Lincoln Chafee has signed the temporary caregiver insurance bill into law. Rhode Island now joins California and New Jersey as the third state to offer paid leave for family caregivers.

The Senate sponsor of the bill, Gayle Goldin, cites her own experience in describing the need for paid leave for family caregivers. Goldin said she broke her back 12 years ago when a wooden balcony upon which she was standing suddenly gave way.

"My husband Jeff and I had a mortgage, we had student loans and we were saving to start a family. The idea of a medical emergency was just not in our plans," said Goldin.

The new law provides up to four weeks of leave at two-thirds of workers’ regular wages for people caring for a seriously ill family member or bonding with a new baby. It’s funded through an increase in payroll deductions for all workers. Supporters say the cost is well worth it, but critics say it’s bad for business. The new law is effective January first.

One supporter, Erik Deneault, said he was torn between work and family when his daughter was born with a rare syndrome, and later lost his job.

Erik Deneault says the family leave bill will help workers like himself who were torn between their job and their family.
Credit Ian Donnis / RIPR

The new law offers up to four weeks of paid leave and Deneault says that would have made a big difference.

“Having this type of security and insurance in place would have allowed me to be productive at work, take the time off as needed with my family, and really be effective at both parts of our life." said Deneault.

Governor Lincoln Chafee signed the temporary caregiver insurance bill into law this Tuesday. It becomes effective January first and will be funded through an increase in payroll deductions.  Critics say the increased deduction adds another cost for struggling workers and is anti-business.

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