Michigan Republicans decry Whitmer’s paid family leave plan as ‘summer break for adults’
State GOP lawmakers are mad that Gov. Gretchen Whitmer wants workers to get paid leave to care for newborn infants and to recover from or get treated for illnesses.
Republican state lawmakers in Michigan plan to attack Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s proposal to pass paid family and medical leave in the state by saying it is “summer break for adults,” according to a memo obtained by the Messenger news website.
The Messenger reported that the document, which offers a script for how Republicans should respond to questions about passing a paid leave bill in Michigan, was authored by Christina Doerr, a spokesperson for the Michigan House Republican caucus.
The memo says: “Lansing Democrats want to take money out of your paychecks with a new tax to pay for summer break for adults. It’s a ridiculous idea that people just can’t afford. People’s paychecks will be smaller if Democrats proceed with their plan to push this proposal through the Legislature. I’m fighting hard to stop them.”
Whitmer on Wednesday gave a speech in which she urged the Democratic-controlled Legislature to pass paid family and medical leave, which would mandate that Michiganders continue to receive pay from their employers while taking care of a newborn or sick family member, or to recover from or get treatment for illnesses.
“No one should have to choose between being there for their family and a paycheck,” Whitmer said.
Whitmer didn’t offer specifics for how much paid leave she wants lawmakers to offer, or how the leave bill would be paid for.
After Whitmer took office in 2020, she extended paid family leave to all state employees, allowing them to take 12 weeks of paid leave after giving birth to or adopting a child.
Democrats in the state Senate have introduced a paid leave bill that, if passed, would offer 15 weeks of paid leave for workers who have given birth to or adopted a child.
A Navigator Research poll from September 2022 found 80% of American voters support paid family and medical leave, including 70% of Republicans.
Michigan Democrats expressed disbelief at the Republicans’ plan to attack paid family leave.
In response to the memo, Michigan state Sen. Mallory McMorrow tweeted: “I’ve tried writing and rewriting a comment that captures how gobsmackingly ghoulish this is but I’m not sure it’s possible.”
“Paid family leave allows a Mother to recover and take care of her newborn baby. Anyone who has experienced that knows it is not a ‘summer break,’” state Sen. Kevin Hertel tweeted.
Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.
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