Gov. Lincoln Chafee has signed into law legislation giving up to four weeks of Temporary Disability Benefits for those out of work to care for a newborn child or sick relative.
The measure, which was advocated by organized labor, covers both newborns and adopted children. The T.D. I. program is financed by a 1.2 percent tax on the first $61,400 in income. The paid leave program takes effect on January 1, 2014.
While labor unions lobbied for the legislation, some chambers of commerce and some other business groups opposed it. The legislation was sponsored by Sen. Gayle Goldin, D-Providence and was pushed by the Women's Fund of Rhode Island and a coalition of community groups. including RI Kids Count, the AARP, the RI State Nurses Association, the Council of Jewish Women and others organized as the We Care Rhode Island Coalition.
California and New Jersey have similiar programs. Goldin estimates the new benefit will cost a worker earning $40,060 annually about 64 cents each week. ``The passage of Temporary Caregiver Insurance is a great victory for Rhode Island's families and our economy,'' said Goldin.
Chafee said, ``In Rhode Island we value hard work and family.''