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Family leave bill would apply to more than maternity

Kathy Kilrain del Rio says she was able take time off because her employer is one of the few in Maine offering 12 weeks of fully paid family leave. (WGME)

AUGUSTA (WGME) -- A new bill at the State House could be a huge benefit for Maine families.

Kathy Kilrain del Rio says she was able take time off because her employer is one of the few in Maine offering 12 weeks of fully paid family leave.

"If we didn't have paid leave, I could not have afforded to take this time off," Kilrain del Rio said.

Kilrain del Rio works for the Maine Women's Lobby, an agency that supports State Representative Mattie Daughtry's bill that would offer every Maine employee the option to save for their own paid family leave.

"This is something that will greatly benefit workers," Daughtry said.

Representative Daughtry's family leave bill would be paid for, not by employers, but employees.

Based on your income, Mainers could opt-in to have pre-tax dollars taken out of their paycheck.

The money would go into a state trust.

Then, when the need is there to take time off work, you'd be paid 75 percent of your salary for up to six weeks or longer depending on the final version of the bill, and the paid family leave would apply to more than just maternity.

"It doesn't have to just be having a child or adopting a child,” Daughtry said. “It can be caring for an ailing parent or an elderly family member; it can be taking time off because you're sick."

There is another bill being considered, one where employers would pay for the family leave, but many employers are against it, including the Maine Restaurant Association.

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