Kentucky Senate approves expanding access to paid family leave

A bipartisan bill aimed at expanding access to paid family leave won final passage Thursday as Kentucky’s legislature shifted into overdrive before a two-week break.

The Senate voted 36-0 to send the family leave legislation to Gov. Andy Beshear.

Supporters said House Bill 179 would amend state law to allow voluntary paid family medical leave to be offered as an insurance product. Such policies would be available to Kentucky employers, who would choose whether to offer it as a benefit to their employees.

“This is a market-driven policy proposal that includes no mandates on employers, workers or families,” Republican Sen. Amanda Mays Bledsoe said while presenting the bill to her colleagues.

Supporters say the goal is to expand the benefit to more Bluegrass State workers who now can’t afford to take time away from work in times of need at home, without forcing anything onto employers. They’re characterizing it as a good first step, while acknowledging it won’t be enough to help everyone.

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