Vote Tracker

HB3 – Family Leave for State Employees

“Working families deserve every chance to have a job and work with dignity without having to choose between their career and their family. They should be able to complete their education so they can have better paying jobs,” Rep. Debra Heffernan said.  To that end, Heffernan is sponsoring House Bill 3, which would offer full-time state employees and teachers 12 weeks of paid maternity or paternity leave after they complete one year of employment.   The new parents would be eligible for leave for up to one year after the birth of the child or adoption of a child under the age of six.   “No parent should have to make a financial decision to leave their child just a couple weeks after they have been brought into the family,” said Rep. Heffernan, D-Brandywine Hundred South. “It’s hypocritical for us as a state to stress the importance of the family unit and then not back it up with this kind of basic and essential support system.”

I am all for paid family leave.  In fact, I believe this law should apply to all businesses of every size that employ human beings.   But this law only applies to state employees.   Which brings me to a quibble with the kind of rhetoric that lawmakers like Representative Heffernan use when talking about their bills.   Ms. Heffernan refers to “Working families” and “Parents” when talking about what they deserve in the form of paid leave.  She does not refer to State Employees who are parents.   She is thus overpromising in regards to her bill, and therefore it is guaranteed that she and the General Assembly will under-deliver.   The person reading her words about no parent having to chose between work and family and working families needing a break can be forgiven if they think she is talking about them even though they are not a state employee.

We need to stop doing that.  Or propose bills that actually meet your rhetoric.


UPDATED: 6/8/17

SPONSORS: Heffernan, McDowell, Henry, Lopez, Townsend, Baumbach, Bennett, Bentz, Bolden, Keeley, Kowalko, Longhurst, Lynn, Potter, B.Short, Spiegelman, Williams

YES VOTES – HOUSE: _____________ SENATE: _________________

NO VOTES – HOUSE: _____________ SENATE: _________________

HISTORY: Assigned to the House Administration on 4/5/17.

STATUS: Waiting for hearing in committee.

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3 comments on “HB3 – Family Leave for State Employees

  1. snewton929

    I love the shuffle here–we supposedly have a budget that requires shared sacrifice, so we will on the one hand take away the “State share” for married couples who are both state employees (thereby turning what was a marriage benefit into a marriage penalty by charging dual-employee couples MORE for their insurance than anybody else) and demand higher deductibles. co-pays, etc., and then on the other we have money for six months to a year of paid maternity/adoption leave?

    My guess (I have not done the math but I’m pretty certain) is that it would longterm be more beneficial to parents who are state employees to have lower cost health insurance over the long term than to have this particular benefit.

    There’s another avenue that nobody seems to be pursuing. Over the years various legislators with friends or spouses who are also state-share couples have voted a lot of pork into the program besides the no-premium rule (which actually doesn’t cost the state a dime). Here’s one: state-share employees, regardless of which health insurance option they take, currently qualify for a $30K (lifetime) benefit toward in-vitro fertilization costs. You have to wonder how that one got in there? Then there’s the perk that state-share employee couples who both go over 25 years get their State retirement medical plan for FREE for THE REST OF THEIR LIVES. Maybe somebody who was actually paying attention to these benefits could have proposed something rational. (There are others–but you actually have to know they are there to find out about them.)

  2. This isn’t part of the Carney budget, right? Because this bill (with a clear cost) doesn’t seem to align with the so-called shared sacrifice plan. Which brings me to this observation — why don’t the Dems in the GA put together their own budget? I know that they take the Governor’s proposed and adjust it, but why not just propose a budget that reflect the policy and spending priorities they would like to see? Just taking on the Governor’s budget and adjusting it pretty much accepts that budget and its priorities. They may do some pruning, but it doesn’t give them a platform for input to real policy, I’m thinking.

  3. Erin-Marie

    I hope this passes! I agree that it’s hypocritical for the state of Delaware to stress the importance of the family unit but not supply a basic support system.

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