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Lawmakers introduce bills that would give all NC workers paid time off

More than half of all working North Carolinians don't work enough hours to get access to the federal Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA).

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — A pair of bills that would guarantee paid time off from work are heading to the North Carolina General Assembly Tuesday. 

Sponsors of the bills say they will ensure everyone can get the time off they need to handle medical situations and other health emergencies. On Tuesday, state lawmakers, community members and advocates will host a virtual press conference to introduce the two family friendly workplace policy bills. 

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The North Carolina Paid Family Leave Insurance Act 

Under the North Carolina Paid Family Leave Insurance Act, all North Carolinians would receive up to 12 weeks for things like caring for a newborn, adopting a child, caring for a sick loved one, handling individual health needs and addressing needs related to active duty in the military. 

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North Carolina Healthy Families & Workplaces/Paid Sick Days Act

This would tell employers that you have to earn paid time off, and it gives them a list of things you can use that for, including provisions for victims of stalking or domestic violence.

Under the Healthy Families & Workplaces Act, employees would earn one hour of sick time for every 30 hours worked. 

Supporters of the bills says they are a big deal when you consider that right now more than half of all working North Carolinians (61%) don't work enough hours to get access to the Federal Family Medical Leave Act. Under the law, that even includes unpaid leave.

Supporters also say when you factor in how many households have children (71%), the pandemic forced many parents into a tight spot, having to play the role of teacher, parent and employee. Many, especially women, needed to take time off work but didn't have access to paid time away. These bills would change that.

RELATED: The gender pay gap is getting worse. You can blame COVID-19

Critics of the bills say rules like this will have a big impact on small businesses and gets politics too much into the workplace.

Legislatives sponsors, Rep. Graig Meyer (D-50) and Senator Sydney Batch (D-17) will formally introduce the North Carolina Paid Family Leave Insurance Act, followed by Rep. Susan Fisher (D-114) and Senator Gladys Robinson (D-28), introducing the North Carolina Healthy Families & Workplaces/ Paid Sick Days Act.