A proposal that would create a family and medical leave insurance program is being circulated for co-sponsors in the Wisconsin Legislature.
The proposal would expand coverage of the current Family and Medical Leave Act to include grandparents, grandchildren, siblings, and any eligible employee who has an eligible family member deployed overseas by the military.
According to the Family Medical Leave Insurance Act proposal, employees would be eligible to receive compensation for time away from work to care for an eligible family member.
Employees would pay for the paid leave benefit by contributing a percentage of their wages to a trust fund administered by the Department of Workforce Development.
The contribution fee, paid by employees, would be established by the Department of Workforce Development, in consultation with the Insurance Commissioner, and would be collected by the DWD in the same manner as DWD collects taxes to fund the Unemployment Compensation Trust Fund.
Although the current Family and Medical Leave law includes a small employer exemption (50 or fewer full-time employees), the Medical Leave and Insurance Act proposal would apply to all employers regardless of number of employees.
Benefits payable under the proposal would be exempt from state income taxes, and cannot exceed $1,000 per week, adjusted according to the Consumer Price Index.
The proposal would also allow local governments to enact and enforce ordinances requiring employers provide leave to their employees as long as these ordinances are more generous than those provided under state law.
According to authors of the proposal, “the benefits of paid leave are well established” and “… improves mental health and enhances economic security.”