SENATE CONCURRENT RESOLUTION 41
(By Senators Lindsay, Azinger, Facemire, Hardesty, Ihlenfeld, Jeffries, Palumbo, Plymale, Prezioso, Romano, Stollings, Takubo, Unger, Woelfel, Baldwin, Hamilton, and Maroney)
[Introduced February 19, 2019]
Requesting the Joint Committee on Government and Finance to study the implementation, costs, and benefits of creating a paid family and medical leave insurance program in West Virginia.
Whereas, Eighty-seven percent of workers do not have access to paid family leave through their employers, less than 40 percent have personal medical leave through an employer-provided temporary disability program, and the federal Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) leaves out 40 percent of the workforce and guarantees only unpaid leave; and
Whereas, In 1970, about half of married couples with children under the age of 18 lived in a household in which the father was the primary earner, compared to two-thirds living in dual-earner households by 2015. The share of children living with a single mother or single father also increased, and more children than ever are living in households in which all parents work and are unlikely to have access to paid leave to care for a sick child or stay home with an infant; and
Whereas, The State of West Virginia has the nation’s lowest labor force participation rate for both men and women. The lack of paid leave means workers often choose between staying attached to the workforce, their families, or their health and this can result in lost wages, lower labor force participation, and reduced lifetime earnings; and
Whereas, There is no strong evidence that businesses suffer when workers have paid leave. Paid family leave can improve worker retention, reduce business costs, reduce turnover, and increase productivity while reducing the need for public assistance, which creates significant taxpayer savings; and
Whereas, Establishing a paid family and medical leave program can reduce health and economic disparities experienced by women and people of color; and
Whereas, Six states and the District of Columbia have enacted paid family and medical leave. The United States is the only industrialized country in the world that does not guarantee paid family and medical leave for its citizens; and
Whereas, Paid family leave has bipartisan support in the US Congress and President Trump called for at least six weeks of paid family leave during his 2019 State of the Union address, saying that every new parent should have a “chance to bond with their newborn child”; and
Whereas, Children are better off when their parents can take paid leave, including increased rates of breastfeeding, reduced rates of low birth-weights, improved parent bonding, and cognitive development and improved infant and child mortality; therefore, be it
Resolved by the Legislature of West Virginia:
That the Joint Committee on Government and Finance is hereby requested to study the implementation, costs, and benefits of creating a paid family and medical leave insurance program in West Virginia; and, be it
Further Resolved, That the Joint Committee on Government and Finance report to the regular session of the Legislature, 2020, on its findings, conclusions, and recommendations, together with drafts of any legislation necessary to effectuate its recommendations; and, be it
Further Resolved, That the expenses necessary to conduct this study, to prepare a report, and to draft necessary legislation be paid from legislative appropriations to the Joint Committee on Government and Finance.