Paid Family and Medical Leave: What is it and Why Does Maine Need It?

Posted on 05/01/23

What You Should Know About the Paid Family and Medical Leave Proposal in Maine

This legislative session our lawmakers are considering a proposal that will establish a Paid Family and Medical Leave Program in Maine. The hearing for LD 1964 An Act to Implement the Recommendations of the Commission to Develop a Paid Family and Medical Leave Benefits Program takes places on Thursday, May 25, 2023. AARP Maine is urging state lawmakers to support LD 1964 because caring for a loved one shouldn’t mean losing pay—or even one’s job.

You can access our one-page flyer about PFML here: PFML FLYER 2023.pdf

This is an important proposal, and we understand Mainers have questions. To try to help understand where this policy currently stands in Augusta and what it could mean, we have gathered information here for you. AARP strongly supports policy that will establish Paid Family and Medical Leave in Maine because it will support Maine’s 166,000 unpaid family caregivers, especially those who work.

What is Paid Family and Medical Leave?

Paid Family and Medical Leave allows workers to take an extended period of time off. This would give workers the flexibility and security to deal with life’s most disruptive events without risking their financial stability, employment, or health insurance.

What kind of event would qualify someone for leave?

Paid family and medical leave is meant to help us care for our own health and manage family caregiving responsibilities when those close to us need our support. Here are some examples of paid family and medical leave. You may know some, and some may be new:

  • Helping a loved one struggling with a chronic condition like dementia
  • Assisting a spouse or parent as they age at home
  • Birth, adoption, or fostering a child (usually called maternity/paternity leave)
  • Recovery from surgery, an accident, or other health condition
  • Dealing with the death or serious health condition of a family member in the military

How does this support Family Caregivers?

Taking your aging mother to the doctor shouldn’t cost you your paycheck or even your job.  But that’s the sword hanging over the heads of many of Maine’s 166,000 unpaid family caregivers. Maine’s family caregivers provide critical support and often do so while juggling a full or part-time job. The stress of balancing both can be daunting. Lack of workplace support can even result in individuals quitting their jobs or experiencing negative health outcomes. Paid Family and Medical Leave can support these caregivers by allowing them the time away from work to care for a loved one without sacrificing their financial security.

What can I do?

AARP Maine wants to hear from our unpaid family caregivers! We encourage all family caregivers to fill out our story collection form. We want to highlight our caregivers and how Paid Leave can help them. You can also contact your State Senator and State Representative and ask them to support LD 1964 because caring for a loved one shouldn’t mean losing pay—or even one’s job.

This story is provided by AARP Maine. Visit the AARP Maine page for more news, events, and programs affecting retirement, health care, and more.

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