Hearing Held in East Goshen on Truitt Family Leave Legislation
HARRISBURG – On Nov. 14, the House Labor and Industry Committee held a special hearing in East Goshen Township at the request of Rep. Dan Truitt (R-Chester). The purpose was to receive testimony on legislation Truitt has introduced, House Bill 298, known as Joanne’s Law.
The federal Family Medical Leave Act permits parents, spouses and children to take up to 12 weeks of leave to care for an ailing parent, spouse or child. The Truitt measure would extend the circle of eligible caregivers to include siblings, grandparents, and grandchildren when parents, spouses or children are unavailable. Under the bill, those newly eligible to take leave to offer care could only do so for a period of six weeks, and their leave would be unpaid.
“Impacts on a business would be minimal, but the positive effects it would have on the patient, as well as the family member or caretaker, would be enormous,” said Truitt. “The two are spending more time with each other during a difficult and painful time. This results in patients relying less on the state as a source of home assistance. Extending the Family Medical Leave Act to siblings, grandparents, and grandchildren when there is no other alternative is a ‘win’ both for Pennsylvania and for affected families.”
Those testifying in favor of House Bill 298 included representatives from the Family Values at Work Consortium, PathWaysPA and the National Partnership for Women and Families.
Offering moving testimony was Anna Marie Pearson, the sister of the woman for whom Joanne’s Law was named and whose story inspired Truitt to introduce the legislation. Pearson cared for Joanne during her last days battling gynecological cancer. Because she was turned down for family medical leave, Pearson had to quit her job of 16 years in order to care for her sister.
“Our father was deceased and our mother was elderly with medical conditions of her own and could not provide the intense care that Joanne needed,” Pearson testified. “Because of Joanne’s dependency on I.V. fluids and her need for a feeding tube to provide nutrition, hospice was not an option for us.”
Pearson continued, “Today, the traditional family unit of mother, father and child does not always exist. Death, divorce, separation and single people all affect the structure of the modern family. This bill seeks only to modestly amend the definition of who may take protected leave.”
For more information, please see www.RepTruitt.com.