A state senator has filed a couple of proposals for this legislative session aimed at easing the burden of caring for family members.
Sen. Sue Crawford of Bellevue has sponsored the Assisting Caregivers Transition Act and the Paid Family Leave Insurance Program.
The Assisting Caregivers Transition Act would allow a hospital patient to designate a caregiver who would be instructed by hospital staff on how best to care for the patient after release.
Associate State Director Mark Intermill with Nebraska AARP says an estimated 200,000 Nebraskans are providing unpaid care to a family member.
“It’s a common sense approach to assure a that person who is admitted to a hospital can designate a caregiver who will help them after they return home and provide the caregivers with the information and training they need to successfully facilitate that transition back to health,” Intermill tells reporters during a Capitol news conference.
AARP expects more Nebraskans to be caring for aging family members or friends with chronic health conditions as the population ages.
Crawford says that under the Paid Family Leave Insurance Program, the state would create a program in which workers pay premiums and receive partial wage reimbursement when they take time off in accordance with provisions of the federal Family and Medical Leave Act. Businesses would be required to allow the worker to return.
“Current policies put too many workers in untenable positions: keep the jobs they need or care for the families they love,” according to Crawford. “What’s more, a recent New York Times/CBS poll found that family responsibilities cut more than half of non-working Americans out of the work force.”
Crawford says a recent survey indicates 20% of potential employees say health and family issues keep them out of the workforce.
AUDIO: Sen. Sue Crawford holds news conference in Capitol Rotunda. [23 min.]