Members of UFCW Local 367 joined parents, workers and business owners at the state capitol in Olympia, Wash., on Jan. 10 in support of paid family and medical leave bills.
Under the proposed bills (SB 5032 and HB 1116), Washington workers would be able to take up to 26 weeks of paid family leave beginning in 2019 to care for a newborn or a newly adopted child, or to care for a family member who is ill, including injured service members. Beginning in 2020, Washington workers would be able to take up to 12 weeks of paid medical leave which could be used to take care of their own serious health conditions. The program would be funded by payroll premiums paid by both employees and employers, which is about $2 a week for a typical Washington worker.
“When I was diagnosed with breast cancer, I had the incredible support of my family, the legal protection of unpaid federal medical leave, and even a financial cushion,” said Terri Warren-Calvillo of Tacoma, who is a member of UFCW Local 367 and a shop steward at Macy’s. “But it wasn’t enough to last through treatment and surgeries. I can tell you that the last thing you need when facing cancer is worrying about losing your job and health insurance. It was the worst experience of my life, and the financial security of paid medical leave would have helped.”