Seventeen state treasurers, including Lynn Rogers of Kansas, have released an open letter to Congressional leaders calling for the passage of paid family and medical leave as a part of President Biden’s upcoming American Family Plan.
Rogers and the state treasurers of California, Maine, Oregon, Washington State and Wisconsin took part in an online news conference Wednesday to talk about the need for a national family leave program.
Rogers said Kansas does not have a paid family leave program, but surrounding states have been looking at the idea. He said if Kansas doesn’t get involved, it would hurt the ability of businesses to recruit and retain a workforce. He said a national program will create a level playing field for all businesses and all states, without having a “confusing hodge-podge of programs.” He said having a consistent and nationwide policy will be of great benefit for businesses, and it will help Kansas businesses retain workers. He said it will also reduce dependence on state social services, because people can take care of themselves.
The letter signed by the state treasurers states that the United States’ position as “the only high-income country that does not have a national paid leave public policy in place” creates “tremendous risks” for the economy, especially in the wake of the COVID crisis. Without a federal policy in place, only nine states and the District of Columbia, have paid leave programs in place, which leaves a patchwork of state programs and the overwhelming majority of states’ finances and investments vulnerable to potential investment losses and operational risks.
The letter was organized by the advocacy groups Paid Leave for the United States (PL+US), and For The Long Term.