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Gillibrand makes push for paid family medical leave

By JOLEEN FERRIS

(WKTV) - As a business owner and the family member of someone who suffered a catastrophic illness, Sherry DePerno wears two hats in the national debate over whether or not to make the Family Medical Leave Act, paid.
 
"I get it wholeheartedly that we are always trying to cut costs, but it is simply morally wrong to have to chose between caring for your family or losing your job, losing your home," says DePerno, whose husband had to walk away from family business, Advanced Tool in order to care for his mother, who died from ALS, or, Lou Gehrig's Disease, four months after being diagnosed.
  
DePerno says when she learned that her cost for making the leave a paid one was around $5 per month per employee, it was a no-brainer for her.
 
Bagel Grove owner Matt Grove agrees.
  
"So sure, holding a job open is a problem, but  what's the flip side of that? Training a new person, having to figure out if they're going to work out and learning to trust that person?" says Grove.
  
U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand visited the Utica YWCA on Friday to drum up support from those who will have to pay for the paid Family Medical Leave Act: both employers and their workers.
    
Right now, workers taking advantage of the Family Medial Leave Act aren't paid while they're not working; the benefit is that their job will be waiting for them when they return from the leave.  The current proposed legislation means that workers would get a percentage of their salary; not the entire salary.
 
"It's 60% of your pay and it's capped at $4000 a month.....it's based on your salary so it's a percentage of your salary you get up to 60% of your salary," said Gillibrand.
   
The senator believes there's support in all of Congress for the measure and hopes they'll pass it by the end of the year.

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