State senator revives push for paid family leave law in Arkansas

Politics

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. – A state lawmaker is reviving his push to give Arkansans better-paid family leave across the board.

Since 2013, St. Sen. Greg Leding, D-Fayetteville, has filed the legislation every session and plans to a fourth time in the coming weeks.

The Democrat said he based his bill, the Arkansas Strong Families Act, on Republican legislation that has been debated in Congress. Employers who voluntarily offer a paid leave family program would get a tax credit for any employee who makes use of it. The measure would cover maternity and paternity leave, and also sick leave to care for a loved one.

Leding notes the U.S. is the only developed country in the world that doesn’t have a national paid leave policy.

“Six percent of working families don’t have access to paid leave,” he said. “One in four moms return to work within 10 days of giving birth. That’s just awful. With just 10 weeks of paid leave, we could reduce maternal mortality by 10 percent in this country.”

The Arkansas legislature passed four weeks of paid maternity leave for public employees in 2017, but Leding isn’t optimistic this bill will have the same fate. 

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