FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Feb. 15, 2023
Contact: Mackenzie Kwok
9to5 WI praises paid family and medical leave in Gov. Evers’ state budget
Paid leave benefits WI employers and working famillies alike
MADISON, Wis. — In his state budget address tonight, Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers announced that — for the first time — the state budget will include a transformational, comprehensive paid family and medical leave program for Wisconsin workers and families. According to the governor’s office:
Gov. Evers is proposing creating a first-of-its-kind Wisconsin Paid Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) Program administered by the Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development.
Under the paid FMLA Program, workers will be eligible for 12 weeks of leave beginning Jan. 1, 2025. This program will be self-sustaining by 2026, and benefits will be funded through payroll contributions shared equally by an employer and an employee, much like the current Unemployment Insurance system. In order to launch the program expeditiously, the governor’s budget infuses the new benefit and administration trust fund with a transfer of $243.4 million.
The governor’s proposal also expands eligibility for workers to use family and medical leave, paid or not, to include deployment of a spouse or child and an unforeseen or unexpected closure of a school or child care facility, among other modifications.
Wisconsin State Director for 9to5, National Association of Working Women, Christina Thor praised the announcement.
“No one should be forced to choose between caring for a sick family member or for themselves and losing their paycheck — or even their job,” Thor said. “By including paid family and medical leave in the state budget, Governor Evers is supporting the real-life needs of Wisconsin families. Paid family and medical leave directly addresses gender, racial, and economic inequities and is a win for families, workers, small businesses and the economy.”
Most working people in the United States — 75 percent or 105 million people nationwide — do not have paid family leave. While the federal government has fallen short of this goal, largely due to a partisan stalemate in Congress, states have stepped in to support families. Currently, 11 states and the District of Columbia have their own paid family and medical leave laws, leaving millions across the country left out. Wisconsin must step up and be the next state to put hardworking Wisconsinites and families first.
Tonight was a clear sign that the needs of working families are being heard, and we look forward to having this promise fulfilled by our administration and state legislature.
9to5, National Association of Working Women is a national grassroots organization on the frontlines working for economic security for all women — particularly women of color. The organization is a national network of advocates with offices in Colorado, Georgia and Wisconsin.