On June 25, 2009, Representative Lynn Woolsey (CA-6), along with 34 co-sponsors, introduced the Balancing Act of 2009 (H.R. 3047). As proposed, the legislation incorporates in one bill various separate pending legislative proposals to alter the FMLA.
Family Leave Medical Insurance Program
The legislation would create a federal program to provide up to 12 weeks of paid leave each 12-month FMLA leave year for the birth, adoption, foster care placement of a child, in order for the employee to care for a child, parent, spouse, domestic partner, grandchild, grandparent, or sibling, for qualifying exigency leave, and for military caregiver leave. The benefit is based on a percentage of the employee's annual income. Those making $20K a year or less would receive 100% of their pay during the 12-week period. From $20K to 30K the employee would receive% of their regular pay; from $30K to $ 60K the employee would receive the greater of 55% of their pay, or 75% of the daily earnings of an employee with annual income of $30K. The top bracket limits the amount of paid leave to individuals making in excess of $ 97K a year to 40% of their income.
Note the addition of coverage for domestic partners, grandchildren, grandparents, and siblings. Curiously, in-laws continue to be left out of the expansion. It allows for the administrating agency to require the employee to provide certification in support of the request for benefits (pay) from the program. There is an appellate process for employee's who are denied payment from the insurance fund. Employers are prohibited from interfering with or discriminating against employees for exercising or attempting to exercise rights under this provision. Employees may sue a covered employer for violations. It also provides the authority for the Secretary of Labor to seek injunctive relief in the event of an employer violation. Employees who make false statements to secure pay from the program may be required to forfeit 100% of the money received, fined, and are guilty of a felony and may face up to 5 years in jail.
Civil Service Family and Medical Leave Insurance Program
The legislation directs the Director of OPM to establish a Civil Service Family and Medical Leave Insurance Program for federal civil service employees. Congress also creates a trust fund in the Treasury and appropriates sufficient money to cover 100% of the necessary funds to cover family and medical leave premium the legislation imposes.
Both Insurance funds are financed by the imposition of premium payments on employees and employers. That is, employer and employee taxes are going up and your paycheck is going down (0.1 or 0.2 %).