Paid Family Medical Leave Reaches the Governor’s Desk
The primary legislative issue for the business community in this session relates to the issue of paid family medical leave. LD 1964: An Act to Implement the Recommendations of the Commission to Develop a Paid Family and Medical Leave Benefits Program.
The Labor Committee voted out LD 1964 on a straight party-line vote after making some amendments to the bill to try to respond to concerns raised by the Mills Administration. The amendments address reducing the maximum weekly benefit amount, the maximum amount of family leave and medical leave an individual may take, and changes in membership of the authority, as well as the addition of a fiscal note. These amendments do not respond to the major concerns raised by the business community that had coalesced around an option more in line with the current law regarding unpaid leave.
RLDAM Legislative Chair Joins Business Community in Opposition
On June 15, 2023, Governor Mills called a meeting with ten members of the business community. Rod Wiles, chair of the RLDAM Legislative Committee, attended the meeting representing the Retail Lumber Dealers Association. He advocated against the bill as an unsustainable payroll tax that businesses cannot afford and explained the impact the amendment would have on the already significant issue of employee absenteeism under the current unpaid leave law.
On June 21, 2023, which was the original statutory adjournment date, the Senate debated the bill at length, with almost a third of the Senators speaking either for or against the Majority Report of the Labor Committee, which prevailed on a party-line vote of 22-12.
The bill passed the House by a vote of 74-52 with 25 members absent. The real remaining question is what Governor Mills will do when it reaches her desk.
What Happens Next?
The Governor can sign the bill, allow it to become law without her signature, veto the bill, or have it recalled from her desk with objections and instructions as to how to amend the legislation to overcome her concerns.
How You Can Help
It only takes two minutes to send a message and tell Governor Mills you oppose this legislation.
If you have personal examples of how this bill will negatively affect your business and employees, we encourage you to add your own anecdote to your letter. The more unique voices we have, the more your representatives will be willing to listen.