Friday, January 28, 2022


The Indiana House passes a controversial bill barring schools from teaching about Critical Race Theory; and President Biden pledges to place a Black woman on the Supreme Court for the first time.


Justice Stephen Breyer formally announces his retirement; the Dept. of Education will help students who fell behind during the pandemic; and AZ lawmakers consider a bill granting them control over elections.


Free COVID tests by mail but some rural Americans need to go the extra mile; farmer storytellers join national campaign to battle corporate consolidation; specialty nurses want more authority; and rare bat gets credit for the mythic margarita.

Paid Family Leave on Forefront as Build Back Better is Finalized


Thursday, November 18, 2021   

ALBANY, N.Y. -- Congress is finalizing the Build Back Better plan, and proponents of paid family leave are pushing for the provision to remain in the bill.

The social-spending plan initially offered 12 weeks of paid leave for workers, which has since been scaled down to four weeks. Supporters of the measure say it offers much-needed support to families.

Kate McCleese, senior campaign manager for Paid Leave for the United States, noted it could reduce disparities in the workforce.

"At the beginning of this pandemic, only 25% of workers had access to any amount of paid leave," McCleese recounted. "And it was way worse for low-wage workers who are disproportionately people of color. Only 8% of low-wage workers had any type of paid leave."

It is estimated about 18 million workers per year would benefit from the proposed paid-leave program.

Currently, the state of New York grants paid time off to eligible employees for up to 12 weeks. Proponents of paid family leave argued the federal paid-leave program should be longer than four weeks, but some members of Congress have deemed the plan too costly.

McCleese contended paid leave, including personal medical leave, promotes workforce participation and results in better health for workers.

"Just think about the difference that access to paid leave would have on people undergoing cancer treatments or who are forced to leave their job just to have a necessary surgery," McCleese emphasized. "Paid leave ties you to the workforce and your health insurance."

This month, New York Gov. Kathy Hochul signed legislation strengthening the current paid-leave policy by Jan. 2023. She explained the change allows workers to care for siblings with a serious health condition.

"I'm here to declare that taking care of your family is a human right," Hochul stated. "The right to be able to not lose your income, not have to make the horrible decision of 'am I able to take care of an elderly parent or a newborn baby or am I going to have to give up my income?'"

Hochul noted the state's paid family leave has helped more than 100,000 New Yorkers a year. With a federal paid-leave program, come 2024 many U.S. workers could get paid leave for the first time.

get more stories like this via email
Solar energy would have been used to replace carbon-based power sources under Arizona's proposed clean-energy plan. (andreiorlov/Adobe Stock)


Frustrated environmental and clean-energy advocates say after four long years of debate and compromise, regulators sent Arizona back to the starting …

Social Issues

When North Dakotans head out to cast their ballots later this year, there is a chance some will do so in a voting center and not a designated …

Health and Wellness

Washington state lawmakers are considering a measure to limit the growing cost of prescription drugs. Senate Bill 5532 would establish a …

The rural and forested Pennsylvania Wilds are home to lots of wildlife species, including elk, white-tailed deer, bobcat and black bear. (Adobe Stock)


The Maryland Air National Guard is considering a proposal to establish airspace where military planes would fly as low as 100 feet over the Pennsylvan…


The state of Illinois is allocating nearly a quarter-billion dollars to support new downstate transit and ports projects. Roughly half will go …

Drug overdose deaths topped more than 100,000 in 2021, according to the CDC. (Adobe Stock)

Health and Wellness

Advocates and faith groups are calling for more investments in harm reduction across the state, as new provisional data shows overdose deaths have …

Social Issues

More than 300 Kentucky farmers participated in the state's Farms to Food Banks program last year, and at a recent virtual rally, state officials said …

Social Issues

Farmers and ranchers in Montana and across the nation are calling on Congress to pass the American Beef Labeling Act. Most food is required to have …


Phone: 303.448.9105 Toll Free: 888.891.9416 Fax: 208.247.1830 Your trusted member- and audience-supported news source since 1996 Copyright 2021