A forum in support of paid family leave met virtually Jan. 6.
Senate Bill 1, introduced last legislative session by Sen. Sarah McBride, D-Wilmington, would create a fund to pay employees for 12 weeks of family leave.
The Rehoboth Beach-Dewey Beach Chamber of Commerce already came out against the bill, citing an overly broad term for family and the inclusion of seasonal workers.
The bill calls for $21.5 million to come out of the state’s general fund to start the family leave fund, which would be run by the Department of Labor. Businesses would pay payroll taxes of .8 percent in 2023 and 2024 so employees could take medical, family and parental leave. In 2025, the Department of Labor would reevaluate the payroll tax rate.
During the forum, Suzette Flores of the Delaware Nurses Association said the bill would benefit caregivers who don’t have access to paid leave. “This affects those more from a lower socioeconomic status,” she said.
Other employees have to make hard decisions, she said, such as whether to leave work in order to care for a loved one, or keep working and arrange for care some other way. “They don’t want to risk losing their job,” she said.
SB 1 awaits action in the Senate Health & Social Services Committee, which is chaired by McBride.