Guest Columnist

Paid family leave can boost Iowa's growth

Iowa’s future growth depends on our state being a welcoming place for families to live and work. Paid family leave can really encourage families to stay in our state or new Iowans to choose to make our state their home.

Other states have seen the benefits of paid family leave and are making it available to workers as programs find bipartisan support around the nation. California, New York, Rhode Island, New Jersey and the District of Columbia are now offering paid family leave. Massachusetts and Washington will implement programs soon. These states know that their investment will reap big rewards and make their economies more competitive.

Iowa should be among the leaders on this. Our communities and statewide economy depend on a great workforce. Paid family leave can help attract the very best.

One bill proposed this session would establish an Iowa Family Leave and Medical Leave insurance program (SF 195). Employers would implement paid, job-protected leave programs for eligible employees to bond with a new child, care for a family member or recover from their own serious health condition.

Employers with 10 or more employees would offer up to 12 weeks of paid family leave or medical leave. The program would be self-sustaining; employers could fully fund the benefit or have employees share in contributing a small portion of their wages to help pay for the benefit. These tiny contributions lead to a life-changing paid leave benefit that will make Iowa a better place for those who want to enjoy a healthier career and family balance.

Paid leave for working families is one way we can show Iowa’s commitment to being among the best places to live, work and raise a family.

— Sen. Rich Taylor represents Henry and Lee counties and portions of Washington and Jefferson counties. He can be reached via email at rich.taylor@legis.iowa.gov, or by calling 319-931-1568.