Washington’s new family-leave law is among the most generous

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This week, Washington joined four other states in promising to cover workers’ income during childbirth, and coming up with a way to pay for it. While similar in intent, the five existing state laws mandating paid family medical leave have important differences. Washington’s is among the most generous of the bunch, covering at least three months of leave and, for low-wage workers, higher rates of pay.

The law takes effect in 2020 for new moms and dads (by birth or adoption) with guaranteed pay for 12 weeks, plus another two for complicated pregnancies. That is more than three times the allowance made in Rhode Island.In addition, low-wage workers may collect at least 90 percent of their weekly income. Leave also is available during a serious medical condition involving the worker or a family member.

“This is a revolutionary bill,” said Kristin Rowe-Finkbeiner,, executive director of the advocacy group MomsRising, whose 40,000 Washington members spent a decade working for its passage. Late last month, the bill passed the state Senate 37-12 and the House 65-29.

While other states have appended family-leave laws to existing statutes covering temporary disability, Washington’s is the first to be built from scratch.

Read more at The Seattle Times
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