Home Labor Virginia Sen. Jennifer Boysko, Del. Jennifer Carroll Foy Introduce Parental Leave Legislation

Virginia Sen. Jennifer Boysko, Del. Jennifer Carroll Foy Introduce Parental Leave Legislation

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Newly-elected Sen.Jennifer Boysko (D-Fairfax) and Del. Jennifer Carroll Foy (D-Prince William) have introduced legislation to mandate that Virginia companies give up to twelve weeks of paid family leave.

Paid family and medical leave program. Requires the Virginia Employment Commission to establish and administer a paid family and medical leave program with benefits beginning January 1, 2022. Under the program, benefits are paid to eligible employees for family and medical leave. Funding for the program is provided through premiums assessed to employers and employees beginning in 2021. The amount of a benefit is 70 percent of the employee’s average weekly wage, not to exceed $850 per week, which amount is required to be adjusted annually to reflect changes in the statewide average weekly wage. The measure caps the duration of paid leave at 12 weeks in any application year. Self-employed individuals are provided the option of participating in the program. The bill has a delayed effective date of January 1, 2020.

If adopted, this would put Virginia among a rare group of states with mandated paid family and medical leave. It would also build on Governor Northam’s executive order for eight weeks of paid FMLA for Commonwealth employees.

Several thoughts:

  • This is good legislation and good policy that merits adoption.
    • Thus, a quite serious thank you to Senator Boysko and Delegate Foy for introducing it and
    • a call for others to sign on/support its passage.
  • It is yet another example of good policy that likely has only a small chance of passing with Virginia GOP control of the Senate and House of Delegates.
    • In other words, if common-sense/good policy like this is in line with what you want to see from government and how you wish to see Virginia move forward, it is a great example of why one should vote to flip both the House and Senate this November.
    • And, well, would welcome being proven wrong and seeing this pass unanimously through the legislature for signature by Governor Northam.
  • With real appreciation for and respect to Sen. Boysko and Delegate Carroll Foy for introducing this legislation, it just doesn’t go far enough.

Mandate minimum leave and
minimum sick leave for all employees

The United States stands out among OECD nations in too many ways, from higher incarceration rates to economic inequality to… When it comes to leave policies:

Again, to make clear, this legislation merits passing and would improve the situation in Virginia and for Virginians.

However, when it comes to leave, moving toward some level of minimum guaranteed leave (both vacation and sick leave) clearly makes policy and social sense. All studies clearly show greater productivity, improved health, and stronger social well-being where workers have vacations and the ability to “call in sick” when sick.

(As a small detail item, with modern computing easing accounting along with the “gig economy” and other part-time employment pressures/roles for so many workers, such a “minimum” structure should cover all employees within this minimum guarantee. For example, one hour of leave and one hour of sick leave per forty hours of pay: whether that “40” occurred in one week or across six months. A very large share of Virginia workers already receive these benefits, it is the generally the most vulnerable who don’t. Our economy and society would be strengthened by such measures to help the vulnerable be just even a little bit less vulnerable.)

Adopting some level of legally mandated vacation and sick leave (even if just five days a year of full employment of each or a total of ten days of paid time off -PTO – would set Virginia apart as a leader in the nation. Just ten states mandate sick leave.  As to vacation ….

No federal or state law requires employers to provide paid or unpaid vacation time to employees.”

Here is a way to make Virginia #1 in the nation … if not now, then a year from now when the Democrats control the legislature.