The proposed 2008 Supplemental Budget released today by the House of Representatives includes $6.2 million in funding for Family Leave Insurance, paving the way for benefits to begin in October 2009.
A proviso in the bill (PSHB 2687) also directs the Employment Security Department (which will administer the program) to implement efficiencies stemming from recommendations made by the Joint Legislative Task Force on Family Leave.
That action will save taxpayers millions of dollars yearly, and make Family Leave Insurance simpler and easier to use for parents and employers, which is good news; but this approach also has other merits:
- It avoids needless debate about the merits of family leave insurance, which is now law in Washington. (For more, read this recent story by the Associated Press.)
- It gives time to craft a thoughtful, pragmatic and creative long-term funding plan for paid family leave – rather than being pushed into a hasty decision by those who would prefer Washington continue on a “business-as-usual” path.
- It keeps the benefits of Family Leave insurance in sight: healthier and smarter children, improved economic security for working families, and more profitable businesses.
Legislators must approve the budget by March 13. More to come as budget debates unfold over the next few weeks.