The Rhode Island State Senate passed legislation that would grant 80% of the state's workers access to paid family leave, allowing them to take paid time off for a new child or to care for family members. The House now must take up the bill before it adjourns in the next few days. If it passes, Rhode Island would become the third state, after California and New Jersey, to offer such a plan.
The Temporary Caregiver Insurance (TCI) program would allow workers to use payroll deduction to fund the plan and would give them up to eight weeks of paid leave per year. An employee making $43,000 a year would pay 83 cents a week. Small businesses have been pushing for the bill after studies from other states showed the program leads to better employee retention and saves businesses money. The state could save money on reduced spending on public assistance programs for low-wage workers.
We Care for RI, a coalition supporting the law, explained its importance:
Temporary caregiver insurance would provide an income during the employee’s leave, enabling a worker to balance family and work responsibilities without jeopardizing his or her family’s economic security.