The Pennsylvania State Capitol Building, in downtown Harrisburg.

A bipartisan duo in the Pennsylvania Senate has introduced a bill that would establish a family and medical leave insurance program.

Sens. Maria Collett, D-Montgomery, and Dan Laughlin, R-Erie, on April 18 outlined their “Family Care Act,” which would allow workers to make small contributions from their weekly earnings to the insurance program, which would be administered by the Department of Labor and Industry.

Workers could then utilize the funds when they need them—to care for themselves or a close family member in the event of a serious health condition, to care for a new child, or to care for a member of the military in qualifying circumstances.

The program is needed because family leave policies at many employers are unpaid. “No one should have to choose between caring for a sick family member and keeping their job,” Collett said. “This legislation will help provide the flexibility and financial security that hard-working Pennsylvanians deserve.”

Laughlin added the program would “provide a basic ‘safety net.’”

“In times of crisis, especially when it involves a serious health issue, families have enough to be concerned about without having to worry about how they are going to pay their bills,” he said.