As a state that boasts it’s “open for business,” Maine needs to do all it can to support business at the most basic level: its workers.

Paid family and medical leave, as proposed by L.D. 738 in this year’s legislature, is one such effort. Workers in their 20s or 30s are likely to have both children and parents who might require their full attention for a short period due to an illness or accident. Workers in their 40s or 50s might find themselves with a frightening cancer diagnosis, requiring aggressive treatment that may keep them out of work for days if not weeks. Workers in their 60s or 70s, waiting eagerly for retirement, might find themselves called to stay temporarily with a grandchild while their own child undergoes treatment for an illness or accident. But none of these workers can afford to take time off without pay.

Paid medical and family leave is for everyone – all ages, all workers – and it will make all businesses more appealing to workers here in Maine. As we read concerns about increased costs for employers and employees, remember the hidden costs of life-changing events that can be mitigated by the security of a few weeks’ paid leave. It’s the right thing to do for Mainers and for business in Maine.

Betsy Williams

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