Campbell: Paid family and medical leave more important than ever amid COVID-19 pandemic

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INDIANAPOLIS – State Representative Chris Campbell (D-West Lafayette) reaffirmed her support for comprehensive paid family and medical leave while Hoosiers across the state begin returning to work amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

“It's more important than ever for Indiana to modernize our family and medical leave policies,” Campbell said. “It took a global pandemic for lawmakers at the federal level to take the issues of working people and families seriously and pass a historic paid leave law. I hope the passing of the Families First Coronavirus Response Act serves as an inspiration to what the Indiana General Assembly can do when we put aside our differences and put the people first.”

The Families First Coronavirus Response Act granted expanded protections to many workers. However, loopholes left some workers vulnerable, including health care workers, essential workers and employees of organizations with over five hundred people. The latter alone cut out benefits to 1.5 million Hoosiers working for large employers.

“When the coronavirus pandemic hit Indiana, four in five workers had no paid family leave options through their employers and about one million Hoosier workers could not earn a single paid sick day,” Campbell continued. “This is frankly unacceptable. These statistics are not reflective of the 'great economy' Republicans touted before COVID-19, it is reflective of low-quality jobs and a poor social safety net.”

Campbell introduced multiple proposals this past session, including House Bill 1427 and an amendment to House Bill 1007, which would have required the Indiana Department of Workforce Development to establish a paid family and medical leave program for employees across the state. Both measures to offer additional protections to Indiana's workforce failed, unfortunately leaving working people and families vulnerable during the pandemic. 

“We cannot rely on Congress to close this loophole and ensure protections to all workers,” Campbell said. “Indiana state legislators must pass a comprehensive paid family and medical leave program whether there is or isn't a public health emergency. All Hoosiers deserve the opportunity to take care of themselves when sick, spend time with a new baby or look after a loved one.”

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