“Tara Driver would love to retire before age 70. But it’s not going to be easy.
The 51-year-old’s finances are still recovering from the hit they took more than a decade ago, after she spent about eight years caring for her ailing father.
During that time, every extra dollar went to pay for supplies and care for him, a veteran who died after a series of strokes and other complications. When she lost her job as an academic adviser because her employer shut down, Ms. Driver had to pull money she’d amassed in a 401(k) from two jobs before, as a program manager for the Y.M.C.A., so she and her father could survive until she found more work. She also deferred payments on her student loans, forced to let the interest build up.
Under a federal law enacted 30 years ago, the Family and Medical Leave Act, the majority of American workers can take up to 12 weeks off work each year to care for a family member without fear of losing their job. But that leave isn’t paid. So some states are taking on the issue.
This year, Minnesota and Maine became the latest of 13 states, along with the District of Columbia, to offer paid caregiving leave. The programs cover all eligible workers and are financed either by workers alone, or workers and employers. Lawmakers have also recently introduced bills in Illinois, Michigan and Pennsylvania, among others.”