We need to bring Oregon's paid leave policy nationwide

February 4, 2020
Higher wages. Better benefits. Erasing student debt. We're working toward all these things and more. But economic freedom also includes not worrying about losing your job if life happens. 
Paid family leave should be available to every family of every form—period. This week, my colleagues and I on the Ways and Means Committee held a hearing to discover the best way to make that a reality. 
Ways and Means Democrats advocated for our proposal, which is far wider reaching than the Republican plan, and we're fighting for any progress we can make. 
I think we should bring the Oregon model nationwide. 
Last year, our state passed, with bipartisan support, the most progressive paid leave policy in the country. It provides 12 weeks of paid leave, but unlike other paid leave laws, it ensures nearly all workers have access. Individuals can take up to 12 weeks paid including new parents, victims of domestic violence, and people who need to care for an ill family member, and to qualify, you need just $1,000 a year in wages. That means low-income and part time workers can access the benefits. It’s the first law to pay low-income workers 100% of their wages when they’re off with the cap on the weekly benefits of over $1,200 dollars a month. It provides employment protections for those who need them, and it’s paid for by a payroll tax from the workers and the employers, so everybody pays. It’s provides a level playing field.
We will all be called upon in our lives to care for ourselves or our loved ones at some point. This heavy responsibility is a fact of life and should not be compounded by the stress of balancing a job and putting food on the family table. Currently, millions of people are without paid family and medical leave. They're being left behind. That needs to change.