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Congressman Dan Kildee Supports Paid Family and Medical Leave for Michigan Workers

January 28, 2020
Press Release

Kildee Highlights Local Bay City Small Business Offering Paid Family and Medical Leave to Employees, Pushes FAMILY Act to Expand Policies for all Michigan Workers

Congressman Dan Kildee (MI-05), Chief Deputy Whip of the House Democratic Caucus, highlighted his support for new legislation that would guarantee up to 12 weeks annually of paid family and medical leave to care for a child or family member who is sick. At a Ways and Means Committee hearing Tuesday, Kildee spoke in support of the Family and Medical Insurance Leave (FAMILY) Act and highlighted a mid-Michigan employer who already provides their employees paid family and medical leave.

In his remarks Tuesday, Congressman Kildee applauded Gougeon Brothers, Inc., a local Bay City small business founded by Meade and Jan Gougeon, for providing unlimited paid family and medical leave for their employees. Congressman Kildee toured Gougeon Brothers, Inc. in August 2019, and according to their annual reports, Gougeon Brothers Inc. employees take an average of four sick days per year and stay with the company for an average of 20 or more years.

A national paid family and medical leave policy would ensure that employees can take time off for the birth of a new child, care for a sick family member or go to the doctor without having to worry about losing their paycheck. According to the Center for American Progress, workers lose an estimated $22.5 billion in lost wages every year because businesses do not provide paid family and medical leave. The U.S. is one of the only advanced countries across the globe that does not offer paid family and medical leave.

“Today’s workers need to balance work, childcare, eldercare and other household responsibilities. The changing nature of the American family means that workplace flexibility, and the ability to take paid family and medical leave, is increasingly important,” Congressman Kildee said. “Already in mid-Michigan, we have small businesses like Gougeon Brothers Inc. that provide paid family and medical leave to their employees. Small business owners like the Gougeon Brothers have found that by offering paid family and medical leave, employees are happier, more productive, and more likely to stay employees of the company. All Michigan workers should be able to take family and medical leave without worrying about if they will have enough money to pay the bills.”

In Congress, Kildee has supported many bipartisan bills to help boost wages and opportunities for Michigan workers, including:

  • H.R. 7, the Pay Check Fairness Act, which strengthens and closes loopholes in existing law, including the 1963 Equal Pay Act, to help ensure that women and men get paid the same if they are doing the same work.
  • H.R. 582, the Raise the Wage Act, which would increase the paychecks of all American workers by gradually increasing the federal minimum wage to $15 an hour by 2025.
  • H.R. 397, the Butch Lewis Act, which would protect the hard-earned retirement benefits of workers by boosting financially-troubled multiemployer pension plans, including the Central State Pension Fund that largely covers Michigan workers.
  • H.R. 4863, the United States Export Finance Agency Act of 2019, which would help to grow Michigan’s economy and create local jobs by reauthorizing the Export-Import Bank (Ex-Im), which supports 137 small businesses in Michigan that export $3 billion in products overseas.
  • H.R. 986, the Protecting Americans with Pre-Existing Conditions Act, which helps to protect families from predatory junk insurance plans that do not offer comprehensive health care coverage, including coverage for pre-existing conditions.
  • H.R. 987, the Strengthening Health Care and Lowering Prescription Drug Costs Act, which would help to rein in the soaring costs of health care and prescription drugs.