paid family leave

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Roughly 200,000 Maine workers who do not currently receive paid sick leave could soon earn paid time off for any reason if a newly amended bill becomes law this year.

A bill mandating employers to provide paid parental leave will get a public hearing Friday alongside House Speaker Sara Gideon's more comprehensive LD 1410, which would create a family and medical leave benefit program through the Department of Labor.

Mal Leary / Maine Public

Maine House Speaker Sara Gideon, a Democrat, has introduced a bill that would create a universal paid family and medical leave program in Maine.

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  In President Trump's State of the Union speech Tuesday night, he emphasized the need to invest in the workforce:

"....and let's support working families by supporting paid family leave," the president said.

Paid maternity leave is an idea that's been around for decades, but currently only a third of employers offer the benefit. Proposals at the national and state level would expand access to paid leave, but opponents say a mandate would be bad for businesses.

AUGUSTA, Maine - Two lawmakers are behind bills calling for paid family leave.

Independent Rep. Owen Casas's conceptual bill would require employers to provide more time and flexibility to certain employees who become parents.

Democratic Rep. Mattie Daughtry's bill would create a paid family leave insurance program funded by employee contributions.

It would provide either two-thirds of a person's average weekly wage or 100 percent of the state's average weekly wage for up to six weeks in any 12-month period.