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Washington Labor & Employment Wire » Family Leave Insurance Act of 2009 (H.R. 1723)

Family Leave Insurance Act of 2009 (H.R. 1723)

Core Provisions: This legislation would create a federal insurance fund to provide employees with twelve weeks of paid family and medical leave. The fund, established and administered by the Secretary of Labor, would provide benefits for employees taking leave (1) because of a serious health condition; (2) upon the birth or adoption of a child; (3) to care for a family member with a serious health condition; (4) for any qualifying emergency arising from the fact that a spouse, child, or parent of the employee is on active military duty; or (5) to care for a family member who is a covered service member. Under the benefits proposal, most employees would contribute 0.2 percent of their annual earnings, and employers would match employee payments. Benefit amounts would be tiered progressively according to income level and indexed for inflation under the Social Security wage index. The bill would allow employers with an equivalent or better paid-leave plan to opt out of participating in the insurance fund.

The legislation also prohibits employers from interference, discrimination, or retaliation concerning an employee’s exercise of rights under the act, and would give employees a corresponding private right of action. The Secretary of Labor would have investigative authority and would be authorized to bring an administrative or civil action. The bill also provides criminal penalties for knowingly submitting or helping another to submit a false certification in order to fraudulently collect benefits.    

Status: H.R. 1723 was introduced by Rep. Stark (D-CA) on March 25, 2009 and referred to the House Committees on Education and Labor; Oversight and Government Reform; and Ways and Means. Rep. Stark introduced similar legislation in the 110th Congress, but that legislation failed to make it out of committee.