"It's for those unexpected, serious health crises that people can't plan for," said Senator Gayle Goldin (D-RI). "It's a very useful tool for families facing a challenge."
The program will be funded through a paycheck deduction, similar to Social Security. The benefit would equal 66 percent of an employee's paycheck, but it is capped for workers who make over $61,400 per year.
Currently, only 12 percent of U.S. workers have access to paid family leave and fewer than 40 percent have paid medical leave, meaning many workers - particularly women and low wage employees - are just one illness or birth away from financial disaster.
Media Resources: Associated Press via Boston.com 1/1/14; The Washington Post 12/29/13; Feminist Majority 12/12/13; Feminist Newswire 12/12/13