Olympia—On Monday, January 31, 2005, the House Commerce and Labor Committee and the Senate Labor, Commerce, Research & Development Committee will hear testimony from business leaders, workers, and policymakers on recently introduced family leave insurance legislation.
SB 5069, sponsored by Senator Karen Keiser, and HB 1173, sponsored by Representative Mary Lou Dickerson, propose a premium of one-cent per hour worked, paid by both the employer and employee (2 cents total), to fund paid leave benefits when a worker needs to take time off to care for an ill family member, a newborn or newly adopted child, or his/her own illness. Benefits include job protection and paid leave of up to $250 per week for five weeks.
Speaking on behalf of the legislation are:
- Richard E. Clarke, President of Amtech Corporation, a mid-size company with more than 160 employees in Yakima and Yelm. Amtech, recognized as one of the state’s best companies to work for, makes fiberglass hardtops for military vehicles currently used in Iraq as well as fiberglass products for commercial and personal use.
- Dolores Gohndrone, President, Hallmark Services, a small business with 8 employees in Seattle. Hallmark Services works throughout the state providing employment services to hundreds of businesses and thousands of individuals each year.
- Marilyn Watkins, Ph.D., Chair of the Family Leave Coalition and Policy Director at the Economic Opportunity Institute, a public policy institute in Seattle. The Family Leave Coalition is made up of more than 35 organizations representing doctors, children, labor, women, and religious communities.
- Selena Allen, Program Specialist, Washington Association for the Education of Young Children. Ms. Allen, who went back to work two days after her second child was born prematurely and required hospitalization, needed to save her limited paid leave to care for her child when he came home from the hospital.
- Kathleen Porch-Teschner, Program Assistant, Program for Early Parent Support. Ms. Porch-Teschner went back to work two weeks after an emergency Caesarean delivery because she was concerned that she would lose her job.
- Jerri Wood, Retired Qwest Employee. As a former Communication Workers of America community service chair and steward, Ms. Wood has first-hand experience in the difficulties families face trying to meet their financial obligations as well as take care of their illnesses.