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Paid medical and family leave could be possible in Virginia in a few years

A proposed Senate bill that would provide paid medical and family leave could take some time to become a reality in Virginia.

NORFOLK, Va. — Virginia legislators will be looking into a bill that would allow paid medical and family leave for up to 12 weeks. Senate Bill 770 would allow employees to get up to 80% of their weekly pay for up to 12 weeks for any family issues including death in the family or maternity leave. 

If passed, some small businesses in the area will have to change their policies. 

"If they put together a small business model, it can figure out a way to pay for this benefit and again the focus here is to retain highly skilled employees," explained Tidewater Community College Business Management Professor Peter Shaw. 

If the bill is passed in this current session of the General Assembly, the Virginia Employment Commission will have to establish the program for benefits. Those benefits would start in January 2023.

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Tap House co-owners Adelaide Rooney and Parker Harrington welcomed the change. 

"I think it's very, very important regardless of what kind of cost it is to any employer really," said Rooney. 

However, the co-owners were concerned they will have to change their business plan.

"Essentially I imagine it will have some sort of cost to us. Depending on what it is, it may make it possible or impossible for us to do and still maintain our business," said Rooney. 

Rooney wanted to know if SB 770 had any incentives and other options. The bill states that a business will have to apply and if they are self-employed they have the option not to join the program.