Nebraska Legislature considers paid family and medical leave proposal

LINCOLN, Neb. (KLKN) — There’s a new effort in the Legislature to mandate paid family and medical leave in Nebraska. 

“Family medical leave is a tool to recruit workers with young families,” said Sen. Machaela Cavanaugh of Omaha, who introduced the bill. 

Under the Paid Family and Medical Leave Act, workers could qualify for leave after a childbirth, an adoption or a foster care placement.

Other qualifications include serious health conditions or if a person needs to care for an ill family member.

Cavanaugh said self-employed people, plus employers with private benefits better than those required can opt out. 

Supporters say this legislation would bring more people into our state.

“It is important to consider the relationship between caregiving and workforce participation in order to ensure that during life’s most treasured, stressful and critical moment, Nebraskans don’t have to choose between family and secure employment,” said Anahi Salazar with Voices of Children. 

Under the bill, you could not take more than 12 weeks of paid family and medical leave. 

But those opposing the bill say it does not consider small businesses.

“Smaller-size businesses, fewer than 50, would have the greatest difficulties complying with a mandated program,” said Jennifer Creager with the Greater Omaha Chamber of Commerce.

Some of the opponents say that if some amendments are made, they could change their position and support the bill.

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