As I discussed in detail here, and then again here, New Jersey Senate bill S-2249 provides 12 weeks’ paid leave to care for newly adopted children. Well, folks, the bill has cleared a Senate committee and now heads to the Senate Appropriations Committee for consideration.
This is more than a decade in the making. Bills like this have come and gone (into oblivion), and have never made it this far before. Now is the time to again voice your support in providing all families — no matter how they are formed — the invaluable adjustment and bonding time they deserve. This is about embracing families and making their health and happiness a social priority.
Although New Jersey and federal laws already allow 12 weeks’ unpaid leave, many families cannot afford that option — especially after handling adoption costs. So adoptive parents have their children placed into their arms only to have to leave them so they can hurry back to work to pay the bills rather than risk further financial hardship. Bonding be damned. (Silly mamagigi, these tricks are only for people who give birth to their children.)
Perhaps the times, they are a changin’?
Under the bill, workers on leave would receive a weekly amount similar to what they’d get for a temporary disability — it would come from the state’s temporary disability fund workers already pay into. That’s the same fund that assists working parents who physically delivered their children into the world, allowing them paid time off. The bill would require all employees pay a tax up to $94 annually to support the program.
The bill’s future is uncertain — especially because the state’s powerful Business and Industry Association opposes the plan. So continue to contact your legislator (and the committee chairmen below) to voice support of the bill — and all families.
And those of you reading but not residing in the Garden State, your e-mailing Committee chairman Bernard Kenny and co-chairman Sharpe James to give your nod to the notion itself wouldn’t hurt either. Parents everywhere should be heard. The larger the group, the louder the voice, the blurrier the state lines, the more unified the message nationwide. (Then, send your legislators a note too!)
If passed, New Jersey would become the second state, after California, to offer paid family leave. Two down, 48 to go.