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Local employees react after President Trump supports federal paid family leave

MERRILL
(WAOW)- During President Trump’s “State of the Union” Tuesday night, he said he will make sure there is paid family leave in his budget.

This could mean good news for new or expectant parents.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, only about 13% of workers in the U.S. are offered paid family leave; this can put a strain on families and impact how much time they spend with their newborn.

While all new parents are guaranteed time off from work under the Family and Medical Leave Act, it’s not always paid.

Now the President said he wants to change that.

“I am also proud to be the first president to include in my budget a plan for nationwide paid family leave so every new parent has the chance to bond with their new born child,” he said.

Church Mutual an insurance company headquartered in Merrill tells News 9 they just started offering the paid family leave this year.

“I just think back I was blessed with four children on my own and I was just there for the birth and then off to work and you just miss the important events of your child’s lives,” said Richard  Poirier the CEO of Church Mutual.

Poirier said this came from a plea from an employee Liz Ott, who wasn’t sure how she would start a family without the paid family leave.

“I started to look at how much money we were bringing and thinking if we want to start a family it would really be beneficial to have some help with that baby eventually does come,” said Ott.

Another employee who just had a newborn was already back to work at Church Mutual but he said he is taking advantage of a few days off every week.

“Our son was born two weeks ago and it’s a pretty good opportunity to be able to spend time at home with my wife and newborn which I didn’t really get to take advantage of when my daughter was born because I was with a prior company that didn’t offer any type of parental leave for fathers,” said Koleman Brenner.

A soon-to-be dad to twins tells News 9 the benefit of the paid leave is a huge burden off his shoulders.

“You know finding out that we were having twins it was a real big excitement but it was also a shock as well on how we were going to handle this and how much time to take off,” said Tyler Berry.

Now with the help of the paid family leave, Berry said he won’t have to burn those vacation days.

It’s still not clear if the President’s plan will come to fruition but Church Mutual said their paid family leave is six weeks long.

It’s applicable for any parent that is expecting, adopting or fostering.

 

Victoria Saha

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