The legislation will allow employees to apply for up to six weeks off, during which they could collect up to two-thirds of their pay—up to a maximum of $524 per week. The program will be funded by a mandatory payroll tax, which the Administration estimates will cost the average worker 64 cents per week.
Per the legislation, employers can require employees to use up to two weeks of available vacation time, sick time or personal days before they are eligible for paid family leave. The only employees exempt from the legislation are federal government employees.
Federal and State Family Medical Leave Laws already require companies with 50 or more employees to hold the job of someone on leave. This bill does not change that. Employees who work for a company with fewer than 50 employees, there is no such requirement and the employee forfeits any right to sue or take action against the employer if they are replaced.
The payroll deductions are expected to begin in January 2009, with workers being able to apply for paid leave benefits in July 2009.