|From the Maine State Chamber's Advocacy Team | Monday, May 22, 2023|
Following a December 2022 report by the Commission to Develop a Paid Family and Medical Leave (PFML) Benefits Program, a PFML bill was recently printed for consideration by the Maine State Legislature.
The bill is L.D. 1964, “An Act to Implement the Recommendations of the Commission to Develop a Paid Family Medical Leave Benefits Program.”
While the Maine State Chamber of Commerce supports a paid leave program for Maine employees and their families, we maintain that it must be a program that works for both employees and employers. To that end, we have made significant efforts over the last several months with lawmakers and policy leaders to develop a workable proposal.
Unfortunately, the final bill including a sponsors’ amendment does not meet that criterion.
The Maine State Chamber will testify in opposition to L.D. 1964 this Thursday, May 25, 2023 before the Legislature’s Labor and Housing Committee at the State House in Augusta.
Other organizations also testifying in opposition Thursday include the Retail Association of Maine, National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB) Maine, HospitalityMaine, and more.
We have several concerns for Maine businesses:
Although the Maine State Chamber opposes this particular bill, we remain committed to continuing discussions with Maine lawmakers, policy leaders, and other stakeholders to develop an affordable and sustainable leave program that works for both employees and employers.
It is important to keep in mind the impact this bill will have on employers and employees who inevitably will be put in the position of having to manage with fewer staff and will have to take on more work in the absence of a co-worker on leave. This is especially important in today’s tight labor market.
Again, the Maine State Chamber will testify in opposition to L.D. 1964 at the public hearing this Thursday, May 25 at 1:00 p.m.
If you would like to testify on L.D. 1964, please consider the following:
TO TESTIFY IN-PERSON:
The public hearing is this Thursday, May 25 at 1:00 p.m. in the Labor Committee located on the second floor of the Burton Cross Building (directly behind the State House).
There may be a sign-up sheet outside the committee room. If not, the committee generally takes testimony from those in FAVOR first, followed by OPPONENTS, followed by NEITHER FOR NOR AGAINST.
You will likely be limited to three minutes of oral testimony.
We recommend having a printed letter that you read from, and that you bring 20 copies of your letter to be distributed to the committee.
Address your letter to: Senator Mike Tipping, Chair; Representative Amy Roeder, Chair; and Members of the Labor Committee.
After your testimony, you may get some questions from the committee. If you can answer the question, please do so. If not, simply say you will work to get an answer over the next couple of days.
Other tips: Be respectful. Yes, the legislative process can be messy, and frustrating, but the public hearing is an opportunity to have your voice heard. We do not know how long the hearing will go. We believe this will be a long hearing that will go a number of hours.
TESTIFY VIA ZOOM:
If you cannot travel to Augusta, you have the option to testify in person via Zoom.
The benefit of this method is you can save some time traveling to Augusta, but still be able to directly testify. You may also be able to do additional work while you wait to testify.
The downside of this method is that sometimes committees wait until the very end to let the people on Zoom testify. We don't know if that's how the chairs are going to run the hearing, but we've seen this with other bills.
TO SUBMIT WRITTEN TESTIMONY:
If you cannot come to Augusta or testify via Zoom, you can upload written testimony in a few clicks.
Thank you and please let us know if you have any questions or would like more information.
TO UNSUBSCRIBE, CLICK HERE.
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