BOSTON, JUN 16 - Representative Bill Driscoll Jr. testified on Tuesday, June 13th, before the Labor and Workforce Development Committee in favor of Paid Family Medical Leave legislation. Driscoll, speaking alongside his colleague Representative Gentile of Sudbury, noted how he felt it necessary to give a voice to many of his constituents from Randolph and Milton who supported the legislation. “Many of them voted for me, in part, to add another voice to the team interested in advancing this legislation into the law of the Commonwealth,” he stated.
Representative Driscoll also outlined, throughout the course of his testimony, some of the unfortunate truths behind the current lack of Paid Family Medical Leave in the United States. “The United States is the only industrialized nation in the world that does not guarantee workers paid family leave – it is important the Massachusetts join the several states that have already taken steps to address this glaring gap,” Driscoll noted.
The lawmaker’s experience as a non-profit manager has given him first-hand experience of the difficulties of replacing talented employees. Furthermore, he expressed his view that the Commonwealth should not be overlooking how many women and men are making contributions to the economy while continuing to provide for their families on a daily basis. Driscoll suggested, however, that the current lack of support was forcing parents and caretakers into an ultimatum – “no employee should be forced to choose between their job and their health or that of their family,” he stated.
Legislators on Beacon Hill are considering several Paid Family Medical Leave bills this session that would create workplace protections and financial benefits similar to unemployment insurance. The shared theme of the proposals limits financial exposure for employers while ensuring that employee’s jobs are waiting for them when they return. Additionally while on leave an employee would receive some percentage of their normal compensation. “A goal here is to increases the financial security of individuals and families if someone needs to take time off due to illness, to take care of a sick family member, or after the birth of a child,” Driscoll offered.
A number of parents cradling young children also testified before the committee over the course of the afternoon to voice their support for the legislation.