FMLA turns 25, but Montana still needs policies to balance family & work

This week marks the 25th anniversary of the enactment of the Family Medical and Leave Act (FMLA), our nation’s unpaid leave law. Much has changed since 1993 and today working Americans need paid leave in order to balance work and home demands.

During the 2017 legislative session, MBPC worked with the Time for Montana coalition to attempt to pass a Montana family medical leave insurance (FAMLI) program. The FAMLI Act would combine small amounts from employees and employers (less than one percent of wages) to create a dedicated funding stream for workers when they need time off to care for themselves or a loved one. From these small contributions, workers would receive a portion of their wages while on leave. After looking at successful programs in other states and national studies, we know paid leave benefits families, businesses, and the economy.

Paid Leave Improves Working Families’ Financial Security and Health

Paid Leave Helps Businesses Attract and Retain Skilled Workers

Paid leave benefits society through increased work participation, lower public assistance use, and taxpayer savings.

Unfortunately the FAMLI Act did not pass in 2017. However, the vote in committee garnered bi-partisan support and was only one vote shy of advancing to the House floor. We are optimistic that there is support for such a bill in 2019, and we will continue to work with businesses, individuals, advocacy organizations, and policy makers to move this critical issue forward. To read more about our proposal for a Montana-specific insurance program, read our FMLI policy design.

To learn more about the coalition working on paid and sick leave visit www.timeformontana.org.

Montana Budget & Policy Center

Shaping policy for a stronger Montana.

MBPC is a nonprofit organization focused on providing credible and timely research and analysis on budget, tax, and economic issues that impact low- and moderate-income Montana families.