Washington state and local governments spend billions supporting the health and well-being of children, seniors, and families. Nearly half of births are covered by Medicaid and 12% of seniors are eligible for medical assistance. In fiscal year 2010, 114,000 children were in publicly subsidized childcare and 47,000 seniors received care support.
By providing partial wage replacement when workers must take leave to care for family or their own serious health condition, Family and Medical Leave Insurance lowers public costs and promotes:
Financial security for families
- Fewer new parents will be forced on public assistance. In 2008, 33% of Washington’s new moms received state assistance, including 13% on cash assistance and 25% on basic food.2 In states with family or disability insurance programs, just 10% of new mothers went on cash assistance (compared to 24% of new mothers in other states), and use of SNAP or food stamps dropped to 9% from 22%.3
- Fewer infants will be in subsidized childcare. Infant care is costly – $910 per month at Washington daycare centers in 2011.
- Women will earn more. Women in states with family or disability insurance were more likely to return to work in the year following a birth, and to have higher wages over time.
- Caring for an aging parent will be less costly, for families and the state. Our aging population means more people balancing work and care for parents or partners with a serious health condition.