Chamber continues to advocate for bipartisan statewide paid family leave policy

By: Editorial Staff Posted: 02/13/2017

Ensuring members’ voices are heard on business impacts is a top priority

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Amid several proposals in Olympia and ongoing discussions in the City of Seattle, the Seattle Metro Chamber continues to work with leaders across government and industry toward a statewide policy on paid family leave. With lawmakers, industry, and advocates abuzz, we are continuing to ensure that members’ voices are heard on the impacts on business of any paid family leave policy. 

Proposals advance at state level 

Several bills proposing statewide paid family leave are moving through the state legislature. One proposal would legislate six months of paid family leave funded through a payroll tax ranging from 0.1-0.6%, half paid by employers and half paid by employees (House Bill 1116 / Senate Bill 5032). The other proposal would create a state program for 12 weeks of paid family leave, funded through employee contributions in an amount set by the Employment Security Department (Senate Bill 5149).

The Chamber has been working with legislators on both sides of the aisle on these proposals, emphasizing the paid family leave principles approved by the Chamber’s Board of Trustees in January. Along with many industry partners, we are continuing to engage various stakeholders and  testifying in favor of a statewide program that is fiscally self-sustaining and accounts for the needs of small businesses. While neither proposal currently meets all of our principles, we remain optimistic that a bipartisan agreement can be reached and a statewide program passed during this legislative session.

Citywide listening sessions with Councilmember González continue

Meanwhile, Councilmember Lorena González continues to host a citywide listening tour with businesses on the possibility of a paid family leave policy for all workers in Seattle. Several sessions were held in the fall and early this year, and will continue into the spring.

While Councilmember González has stated her support for a statewide policy, she has said she will continue to explore a citywide option.  The Seattle Metro Chamber is reaching out to our members to ensure that considerations and concerns of the business community are a key part of any policy that is developed. We are also actively engaging other city councilmembers about our advocacy for a statewide policy and the building momentum for action in Olympia.

Want to learn more and make your voice heard? Join us for a future open listening session with CM González. Sign up to get involved.