NJ’s adoption leave bill lives!

Rally your troops. Circle your wagons. Write a legislator.

It’s been a year since S-2249, New Jersey’s paid family leave bill, was introduced and it still has a pulse, folks.

On Thursday, Dec. 6, the measure will face its next test as it comes up for a vote by the state’s Assembly Labor Committee. This summer Gov. Jon Corzine pledged he would sign a family-leave bill into law before the end of this year. You look at a calendar and do the math.

The bone of contention at this point seems to be the number of paid weeks off afforded to workers — it’s already been decreased from 12 to 10, and that number may fall yet again as the state’s powerful business association claims such leave is simply too large a burden for small business to bear.

Thing is — and this is most important — the paid leave program would not be financed on the backs of businesses. I detailed how it would be funded right here some time ago.

And who, exactly, would be covered? Everyone, even those of us employed by a company with fewer than 50 employees (Me! Me! Me! That’s me frantically jumping up and down and waving my arms!) — companies otherwise exempt from current state law affording 12 unpaid weeks of leave and job protection.

Here’s the thing: All newly created or expanded families — no matter how they are formed — deserve invaluable adjustment and bonding time without fearing severe financial detriment. Caring for or financially supporting one’s family shouldn’t be an either-or situation.

You don’t have to be an adoptive parent to care about this. You could know one or love one or … better yet, you could just be … a member of a family. That’s right. This bill affects you, should you ever need time off from work to care for a beloved family member. You’ll care about it then, I can assure you. Thing is, it might be too late by then. So show your support now. How? Read on.

(Not up on the issue? Doesn’t mean you can’t jump in now and show your support. Just take a gander at my previous essays in the Adoption Leave tab above for the history of this bill and you’re good to go.)

If this legislation passes, New Jersey would be the third state in the nation (California leads the pack) to offer such relief to new adoptive parents, as well as those needing to care for an ailing family member.

Find the legislators here (click Labor in the right margin for the actual committee considering the bill), and write these folks to voice your support of paid leave for families.

And if you’re not a Jerseyan, don’t think your voice doesn’t need to be heard. Write these NJ legislators and let them know what this means to families like yours, and then copy it to your own lawmakers.

We’re all in this together, one state at a time.

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Filed under Adoption, Adoption leave, Family Leave, Legislation, Paid Adoption Leave, Parenting, Work

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