Ballot: 93% of Maine voters again creation of paid household and medical depart coverage

Ballot: 93% of Maine voters again creation of paid household and medical depart coverage

A ballot launched this week discovered that making a paid household and medical depart system, which might enable employees to keep away from vital monetary repercussions when taking day without work to take care of themselves or their household, enjoys large help amongst Mainers.

In response to a survey administered by the nonpartisan agency Pan Atlantic Analysis, 93% of seemingly Maine voters help instituting an insurance coverage plan to offer paid depart advantages for workers. The ballot — launched by the Maine Girls’s Foyer and Household (email protected) Motion, teams supportive of paid depart — comes as lawmakers are set to consider making a statewide program this legislative session, with a coverage able to be positioned on the 2024 poll if that effort fails.

The ballot discovered that paid depart has the help of no less than 90% of each registered Democrats and Republicans and in addition has the backing of a powerful majority of enterprise homeowners and caregivers, Maine Girls’s Foyer stated in a information launch.

General, 59% of seemingly voters stated they strongly help implementing a paid depart program whereas 34% stated they considerably again the coverage.

When supplied extra context about prices related to paid depart — a coverage that generally allows employees to take round 12-16 weeks off in a 12 months to take care of occasions akin to a long-term sickness, welcoming a brand new youngster, or caring for a cherished one, amongst different conditions — 90% of voters stated they’d nonetheless help this system, in line with the ballot. The survey discovered 56% had been nonetheless strongly supportive and 34% had been considerably supportive.

“Paid household and medical depart will assist Maine individuals, households, and companies succeed,” Destie Hohman Sprague, govt director of the Maine Girls’s Foyer, stated in response to the survey. “This ballot simply confirms what we now have lengthy believed — Maine households are prepared for paid depart to make sure their households are wholesome, thriving, and profitable. It’s time for lawmakers to ship what Mainers so clearly help.”

Together with the overall backing for paid depart, the ballot discovered {that a} plurality of voters (41%) desire a program that’s both largely or completely funded by employers, with 39% wanting the prices to be equally break up between employers and employees. Simply 8% of respondents need this system to be largely or completely funded by employees.

That’s essential as a result of a legislative fee, which supplied suggestions earlier this 12 months that might be used to draft a paid depart invoice, didn’t resolve on a particular share of the prices that must be borne by employers versus employees. As an alternative, the group provided a recommended rangesaying it must be someplace between a 25% employer-75% employee contribution break up and a 50% employer and 50% employee contribution break up.

The Pan Atlantic Analysis survey additionally discovered majority help for among the extra frequent causes somebody could must take paid depart. Eighty-eight p.c help individuals taking paid depart to take care of a member of the family, 87% again individuals taking parental depart, 82% help private medical-related depart, and majorities additionally again taking paid depart for a army deployment, causes associated to home violence or sexual assault, and therapy for opioid-related substance use dysfunction.

Lastly, the survey steered that there could possibly be political fallout for lawmakers who oppose the creation of a paid depart program. When given the hypothetical of a legislator who voted towards paid depart, simply 14% of respondents stated they might wish to reelect that official whereas 48% stated they might search for somebody new for the place.

Legislature anticipated to take up paid depart this session

The main points of the paid depart invoice Maine lawmakers will think about this 12 months have not yet been released. Nevertheless, the measure will seemingly hew considerably near findings from the legislative fee set as much as research the difficulty, which really helpful a coverage of permitting employees to take as much as 12 weeks off per occasion and 16 weeks per 12 months (if there are a number of occasions for which they want paid depart).

The fee additionally really helpful that this system be funded with a small payroll tax and steered that employers with fewer than 15 employees on employees be exempt from contributing to this system. The group stated employers with 15 or extra employees ought to contribute based mostly on a share of employees’ wages.

As Beacon beforehand reportedthe necessity for paid depart is evident, with myriad Mainers telling tales about how the shortage of such a program has compelled them to decide on between their financial well-being and their health or that of their household.

That dilemma is one many Mainers may face in some unspecified time in the future of their life, as simply 28% of workers within the state have entry to a complete paid depart coverage by their employer.

Recognizing the necessity to change that, over 130 medical professionals in Maine signed an open letter earlier this month urging lawmakers to move a statewide coverage.

The dearth of federal paid depart makes the US a world anomaly, because the U.S. is the one industrialized nation on the planet without such a coverage, prompting 13 states and the District of Columbia to arrange their very own packages. Advocates hope Maine will change into the 14th state to take action, they usually say the momentum behind paid depart is rising across the nation.

“Whereas help for paid depart has persistently been excessive over many years, we’ve seen unprecedented depth and urgency in polling since 2020, together with amongst independents and persuadable voters, and we discovered {that a} third of battleground voters grew to become much more supportive of paid depart insurance policies within the final 12 months,” stated Daybreak Hucklebridge, director of the nationwide group Paid Go away for All. “The momentum for paid depart has multiplied and continues to develop.”

Whereas advocates in Maine are hoping to move paid depart by the legislature this session, if that marketing campaign fails, proponents have additionally launched a poll measure to make sure the coverage occurs a method or one other.

That effort is being spearheaded by Maine Folks’s Alliance (of which Beacon is a mission) and the Maine Girls’s Foyer. The coverage would additionally present as much as 16 weeks of depart a 12 months and be paid for by each employers and workers — with giant companies contributing the next proportion towards the fund — and would substitute wages equal to or lower than 50% of the state weekly common wage at 90% and wages greater than 50% of the state weekly common at 65%.

The teams spent a lot of the latter a part of 2022 gathering greater than 80,000 signatures in help of the referendum, exceeding the quantity wanted to place the coverage on the poll. Nevertheless, the marketing campaign determined to not transfer ahead with a November 2023 referendum, as a substitute opting to carry the signatures for a possible poll initiative in 2024 if the legislature fails to move a paid depart coverage.

The Pan Atlantic Analysis paid depart ballot launched this week surveyed 800 seemingly Maine voters from March 13 by March 22. The margin of error for the survey is +/- 3.5% at a 95% confidence stage, that means that if the ballot had been repeated 100 occasions, researchers would anticipate the outcomes to be inside 3.5% in 95 of these repetitions.

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