How Bethesda might get the whole U.S. paid parental leave

 photo by Benji Aird

photo by Benji Aird

Back in September, the United States Department of Labor's Women's Bureau issued $1.55M in grants to eight regions around America to study the viability of local paid family leave programs. The goal? To research, "how paid leave programs can be developed and implemented across the country." Which is awesome. I'm going to be watching those eight regions and reporting back here on how it's all going. 

One of those communities is Montgomery County, Maryland, where, last month, district 16 Del. Ariana Kelly brought a bill forward that looks very, very similar to the federally proposed FAMILY Act: Funded by a payroll tax (to avoid a burden on businesses), the plan would create a state-run insurance fund to give workers 12 weeks off of work, at two-thirds pay, to care for a family member. At the hearing for the bill on Tuesday, Kelly appealed not just to desperate mothers and fathers—but also to the local businesses that she knows her district's economy depends on: "I'm not just a family person. I'm an employer," Kelly said. "I've been both the pregnant employee who needs paid maternity leave and the employer who does not know how she's going to pay for that."

Stay tuned. This goes to committee next week, and Kelly says she plans to reveal some of the findings of the Department of Labor study. And yes, that's a bloggy T5T cliffhanger.