On February 5, 2013, 20 years after our federal Family Medical Leave Act passed, I introduced the Temporary Caregiver Insurance Act because Rhode Island is ready for a program that cares for workers while supporting business. Rhode Island's Temporary Caregiver Insurance program offers employees up to 4 weeks of job-protected wage replacement when they need it most, when a family member has a serious health crisis or when a new child joins their home through birth, adoption, or foster care. Today, 70% of Rhode Island children live in a family where all parents work and almost everyone has experienced the challenges of managing work at time when our family needs us. Temporary Caregiver Insurance modernizes our Temporary Disability Insurance (TDI), first launched in 1942, to reflect the needs of our current workforce. Research shows paid family leave has a positive effect on worker productivity and retention. At the same time, it keeps money in the pockets of employees who can continue to pay bills, buy groceries, and keep our economy growing.
In May, I brought my own story and my commitment to creating paid family leave to Capitol Hill.Because of this advocacy, for the first time in U.S. history, the U.S. Department of Labor's Senate appropriations bill includes a $5 million fund to start State Family Leave Insurance funds.
When Temporary Caregiver Insurance was signed into law on July 12, 2013, Rhode Island became the third state in the country with paid family leave and the first state to ensure jobs are protected during that leave. Employees may start using the program in January.