A bill narrowly advanced on Friday in the Utah House of Representatives to create a tax credit for employers that offer paid family and medical leave to their workers.
The bill would create an optional tax credit for businesses that offer at least two weeks of paid leave for employees. During that time, employers would have to pay half their workers' normal wages.
The proposal came from Rep. Becky Edwards, R-North Salt Lake. She said family and medical situations affect the job security of employees and can create retraining costs for businesses.
"What we see is that for many people who are faced with these family circumstances that do come up on a rare basis, they actually are forced to consider leaving their job, leaving their entire paycheck behind in order to take care of family," Edwards said.
The tax credit would apply when workers leave their jobs because of serious health conditions of family members, to spend time with a new baby or in family military leave situations like a deployment.
Edwards pointed out that Utah’s female labor force has not come back from pre-recession levels and that women are more likely to have conflicts between work and caregiving responsibilities.
With this year’s state budget yet to be decided on, the tax credit narrowly passed in the House, 38 to 28. Next it goes to the state Senate.