Local Connection: Paid Family Leave

Working families are struggling — and the numbers of the homeless are growing. We need to match our rhetoric with our actions.

Now that the Fight for a $15 minimum wage has stalled in the Senate, we need to be sure that efforts to create a family leave insurance plan passes. Allowing working families to take paid family leave will help mothers like Jessica McDonald whose story is heartbreaking.

"I gave birth to my daughter, Quinn on April 23 last year. I returned to work after six weeks because I had exhausted my vacation and sick leave. I could have taken two more weeks, but that would have been unpaid. Our family simply could not afford to lose that income. Two days after I returned to work, I lost baby Quinn to a sudden illness. I keep wishing I could have been there to hold her," Mcdonald said.

Other families have stories of stress and hardship that hurt children and kupuna — those most in need of care.

We should not be asking families to choose between losing their income and caring for family members when they are ill.

Other states have done it. Research shows it's affordable, less than $58 per year, per worker.

Let's make a state-run family leave insurance plan a reality in Hawaii. It's smart public policy to help working families take care of their ohana. It's who we are.

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