Washington, DC – Today, the Fairness Project congratulated the Maine People’s Alliance and partners on moving into its signature collection phase in the effort to pass paid family and medical leave in Maine with a citizen-led ballot measure. Currently, two-thirds of Mainers don’t have access to paid family and medical leave, and this measure would give people the chance to recover from life’s unexpected challenges without losing their job or going bankrupt.
The United States is one of only six countries in the world without a national paid leave program. Four in five American workers are forced to make the grueling choice between their income, bonding with a newborn, and the long-term health and well-being of their families. While a federal paid leave program continues to stall in Congress, the ballot measure process provides an avenue to enact paid leave policies into law in states across the country and help prevent wage loss, improve employee retention, and empower parents to bond with and support their children.
Kelly Hall, Executive Director of the Fairness Project, released the following statement:
“Lack of guaranteed paid leave in the U.S. leaves all of us vulnerable, a particularly difficult lesson we learned during the Covid-19 pandemic. All workers, especially those living paycheck to paycheck, deserve the same paid leave that high-income earners and the rest of the world receive.
“We’re excited to see this coalition coming together and organizing around a measure that would directly benefit the majority of the population in Maine who don’t have access to paid family and medical leave. These policies are popular. When taken to the people and presented through a citizen-driven ballot initiative, they pass.”
According to a 2021 Omnibus Poll, 75.5% of Maine residents support a paid leave program.
The Fairness Project has collaborated with Maine People’s Alliance twice on successful ballot measure campaigns, first in passing a minimum wage increase in 2016 for 180,000 Mainers, and expanding Medicaid to more than 70,000 Mainers in 2017.