A bill being introduced this week would offer paid family leave as part of the state’s temporary disability insurance program, or TDI. But least one observer thinks the TDI program is already too costly.
Senator Gayle Goldin (D-Providence) says temporary paid leave should be available for workers caring for a seriously ill family member or bonding with a new child in their home. She says expanding TDI to do this would cost 83 cents a week for typical workers. Goldin says the benefits of temporary paid leave have been supported by research in California and New Jersey.
"It’s a cost-effective strategy," she says. "This is a way that increases employee retention, lowers turnover costs, increases worker morale, and it has a positive effect on productivity, profitability, and performance."
But Moderate Party founder Ken Block says the state should examine the cost of its temporary disability program instead of expanding it. He says a worker earning $60,000 already pays $720 a year for TDI. Block says the cost of temporary disability insurance may be causing a high percentage -- almost 10 percent of those paying into the program -- to use it.
Goldin says Senate President Teresa Paiva Weed is a co-sponsor of her bill.