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State legislators considering passing paid family and medical leave during January 2023 session

Arianna Sena / KUNM

ThePaid Family and Medical Leave Act would establish atrust fund that would come from both employer and employee contributions. The goal is to provide people the support they need to take an extended time away from work due to bonding with a new child, caretaking for a family member, or caring for personal medical conditions.

Policy advocate Tracy McDaniel with the Southwest Women’s Law Center said the act has huge potential benefits for healthcare, caretaking, and reducing an individual’s likelihood of developing severe illness and needing long term disability aid.

"In the postpartum period, that’s associated with a reduced use of public assistance, decreases in child abuse hospitalizations through the second year of life, and domestic violence incidents are decreased. In addition, family caregiving it decreases the length of hospital stays, emergency room usage, and nursing home utilization" said McDaniel.

The Paid Family & Medical Leave Task Force also recommends adding leave provisions for domestic violence, sexual assault, stalking, and bereavement following the loss of a child.

Both employers and employees would contribute to the fund. Employers would pay $4 per $1,000 in wages and employees would pay $5 per $1,000 in wages. Businesses with five employees or less will be exempt from contributing, which amounts to 66% of the state’s businesses.

This coverage is made possible by the W.K. Kellogg Foundation and KUNM listeners.

Taylor is a reporter with our Poverty and Public Health project. She is a lover of books and a proud dog mom. She's been published in Albuquerque The Magazine several times and enjoys writing about politics and travel.