Missouri lawmakers push for paid parental leave - KMOV.com

Missouri lawmakers push for paid parental leave

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ST. LOUIS, Mo. (KMOV.com) -

As families get together for the holidays, the conversation often turns to caring for aging family members. Now, some Democratic lawmakers in Missouri are building momentum from an Executive Order by the state’s Republican governor.

Without children of her own, State Representative Tracy McCreery might surprise you as an advocate for paid family leave.

“All of us, no matter our party affiliation, are part of a family, however you define family,” said McCreery, a Democrat who represents District 88.

She is working with both Republicans and Democrats, including State Senator Jill Schupp (District 24), on a bill that would create earned family and medical leave time for workers across Missouri.

“It would allow Missouri workers to take paid time away to help care for family members or themselves, who are going through some kind of health crisis. Maybe there is some kind of life transition where a parent needs to be transitioned into a nursing home. Maybe you are getting ready to adopt a child and need a little bit of extra time,” said McCreery.

This comes as the state of Missouri makes sweeping changes. The Women’s Foundation just announced five out of six statewide executive branch officials, along with the Missouri House, have adopted paid parental leave policies for their employees.  Back in March, Governor Eric Greitens led the charge by signing an executive order for his staff.

Lawmakers like McCreery are trying to make sure private sector employees have the same safety net.

“This is an issue that’s enjoyed bipartisan support. But I’m not naïve, I know when it comes to the nuts and bolts we’ll have to make some compromises,” said McCreery.

For now, the bill has employees, not employers, contributing one-quarter of one percent of their pay to the fund. The money would be applied for and distributed in a way similar to unemployment benefits. Employees have to pay into the fund for at least 52 weeks and work for the current employer for at least 26 weeks in order to draw money. They would not be eligible for unemployment pay at the same time. Employees would be eligible to draw from the fund for reasons like the birth of a child, placement of a foster care or adopted child, caring for a family member with a serious health condition, of tending to their own health issues.

McCreery hopes to have a hearing on the bill in the coming months.

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