Advocates discuss paid family and medical leave ahead of public hearing in Augusta

Published: May. 22, 2023 at 6:00 PM EDT
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AUGUSTA, Maine (WABI) - Maine is still one of the only states in New England that hasn’t adopted a paid family and medical leave program for its workers.

Thirteen states in the country have enacted a paid family and medical leave program, however lawmakers are still evaluating the proposed bill to see if it’s right for Mainers.

Senator Mattie Daughtry, D-Cumberland, and Rep. Kristie Cloutier, D-Lewiston, held a conference to discuss specifics of the proposed bill.

One of the concerns is how will Mainers know if they’re eligible for the program and will this be a full investment.

Daughtry says they’ve outlined the program to meet the lives of Mainers, many of which work more than one job.

“Currently in our sponsors amendment you have to have contributed to the system six times the states average weekly wage,” said Daughtry. “I think the important thing is all employees are potentially eligible but the reason why a state program is so transformational is it can be an accurate representation of all of your wages.”

She also expressed the reasoning behind the eligibility plan is because many Mainers work more than one job.

Daughtry said this will not be the same as paid time off, it will be a separate program that Mainers have to invest in according to the current economic threshold.

The bill will be discussed at a public hearing this Thursday at 1 p.m.