Washington chambers of commerce support paid family leave bill
OLYMPIA — Chambers of commerce from throughout Washington voiced support today for the paid family leave legislation that resulted from months of bipartisan negotiations among lawmakers as well as business and labor leaders.
The chambers are joining with the Association of Washington Business — Washington’s state chamber of commerce — in support of the legislation, saying it provides an important, uniform worker benefit while also considering the impact to small employers.
“This legislation is a victory for families, businesses, and the economic vitality of our state,” said Seattle Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce president and CEO Maud Daudon. “Thanks to the collaborative efforts of legislators in both parties and stakeholders across the state, we have ended up with a solution that strengthens working families and balances the needs of small businesses and other employers. We are proud to support this bill and look forward to Governor Inslee signing it.”
Chambers of commerce supporting the legislation include:
- Anacortes Chamber of Commerce
- Auburn Area Chamber of Commerce
- Bellevue Chamber of Commerce
- Bellingham-Whatcom Chamber of Commerce
- Camas-Washougal Chamber of Commerce
- Kelso-Longview Chamber of Commerce
- Kittitas County Chamber of Commerce
- Maple Valley Black Diamond Chamber of Commerce
- Moses Lake Chamber of Commerce
- Pullman Chamber of Commerce
- Port Angeles Regional Chamber of Commerce
- Seattle Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce
- Seattle Southside Chamber of Commerce
- Greater Vancouver Chamber of Commerce
“It is important that as a business community we support the needs of our employees as well as protect our ability to sustain our businesses and this legislation is a great effort to accomplish both,” said John McDonagh, president and CEO of the Greater Vancouver Chamber of Commerce.
The Bellevue Chamber of Commerce applauded the bipartisan negotiations that led to the agreement. “What matters most is a shared obligation between employers and employees to pay the cost of the program, special protections for small employers and a uniform statewide policy,” said Bellevue Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Betty Capestany.
Stephanie Hamilton, president of the Anacortes Chamber of Commerce, lent her chambers support to the legislation based on the months-long, bipartisan collaboration to reach the agreement, saying, “I have been so impressed with the process of bringing legislators from both sides of the House and Senate as well as employers and employees to come to an agreement that works for all. I appreciate the work that AWB put into this to safeguard businesses and give employees the leave they need for their families.”
The legislation establishes one statewide paid family and medical leave policy, allowing employees time off work with pay to care for their families during critical times, including the birth or adoption of a child, to care for ill family members or to recover from a disability.
It also contains important protections for employers, especially small businesses, ensuring the new benefit is sustainable. They include funding to help with the cost of training a temporary worker and the option for businesses with fewer than 50 workers to either opt in or stay out of the system.
AWB President Kris Johnson welcomed the support from chambers of commerce. “A lot of hard work went into this agreement. These chambers, which represent thousands of small businesses throughout the state, understand the importance of providing this benefit for employees while also taking into account the needs of employers.”
Anacortes Chamber of Commerce. Stephanie Hamilton, 360.293.7911, firstname.lastname@example.org
Auburn Area Chamber of Commerce, Julia Jordon, 253.833.0700, email@example.com
Bellevue Chamber of Commerce, Chris Johnson, 425.213.1208, firstname.lastname@example.org
Bellingham-Whatcom Chamber of Commerce, Guy Occhiogrosso, 360.746.0738, email@example.com
Camas-Washougal Chamber of Commerce, Brent Erickson, 360.834.2472, firstname.lastname@example.org
Kelso-Longview Chamber of Commerce, Bill Marcum, 360.423.8400, email@example.com
Kittitas County Chamber of Commerce, Jim Armstrong, 509.925.2002, firstname.lastname@example.org
Maple Valley Black Diamond Chamber of Commerce, Erica Dial, 425.432.0222, email@example.com
Moses Lake Chamber of Commerce, Debbie Doran-Martinez, 509.765.7888, firstname.lastname@example.org
Port Angeles Regional Chamber of Commerce, Marc Abshire, 360.452.2364, email@example.com
Pullman Chamber of Commerce, Marie Dymkoski, 509.334.3565, firstname.lastname@example.org
Seattle Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce, Kathryn Robertson, 206.389.7241, email@example.com
Seattle Southside Chamber of Commerce, Andrea H. Reay, 206.575.3016, Andrea@SeattleSouthsideChamber.com
Greater Vancouver Chamber of Commerce, John McDonagh, 360.567.1050, firstname.lastname@example.org
About the Association of Washington Business
Formed in 1904, the Association of Washington Business is Washington’s oldest and largest statewide business association, and includes nearly 7,000 members representing 700,000 employees. AWB serves as both the state’s chamber of commerce and the manufacturing and technology association. While its membership includes major employers like Boeing, Microsoft and Weyerhaeuser, 90 percent of AWB members employ fewer than 100 people. More than half of AWB’s members employ fewer than 10. For more about AWB, visit www.awb.org.