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House GOP kills paid family leave bill

democrats republicansIn an unrecorded voice vote, the Republican-controlled Commerce and Subcommittee #2 today killed a bill that would have established a paid family leave program in Virginia.

The bill, sponsored by Del. Mark Levine, would have enabled workers caring for newborn infants or sick family members to receive two-thirds of their regular paycheck up to $4,000 a month. Employers and employees would each contribute 0.2% of the employee’s salary to fund the benefit. It would have had no cost to Commonwealth.

Del. Mark Levine said, “I’m disappointed that Republicans refused to even consider whether a pregnant woman should have to return to work immediately after giving birth. This bill hurts working families who cannot afford to take unpaid leave to care for their babies or dying parents. This bill would have cost a worker making $50,000 a year less than $2 a week. House Republicans have shown themselves to be indifferent to the basic needs of Virginia’s working families.”

“Working people are struggling,” said House Democratic Leader David J. Toscano. “Yet within a 48-hour period, House Republicans killed three bills that would have raised the minimum wage, killed two bills that would have helped borrowers re-finance student loans and killed this bill to create a paid family leave program. Meanwhile, they passed a bill that will drive down wages for state contractors. Virginians need good jobs, they need a raise, and they need economic security. Republicans are actively voting against those objectives every day we’re in session.”

“Today Republicans voted against Virginia’s working families,” said Caucus Chair Charniele Herring. “Seventy-two percent of Americans support paid family leave, which has also garnered strong support among Republicans. Only 12 percent of employers offer a paid family leave program, which is why legislation like this is so important. No Virginian should have to choose between caring for a dying parent and going broke. We must do more to support our working families. They are the backbone of our economy.”