I rarely write letters to the editor, but I do so today to encourage passage of a law for paid family and medical leave for all Mainers.

Several years ago, I needed some major surgery. Lucky for me, I was a teacher and was able to schedule the procedure in June, so I had the summer to recover. Many people don’t have that luxury. Consider a new mother with her infant, an adult with an ailing parent who needs care, a trucker with a broken right leg, or a parent whose child has life-threatening cancer. The list of possibilities is endless. Two-thirds of working Mainers do not have a paid leave plan that comes with their employment. Several other states, including Massachusetts, Rhode Island and Connecticut do. Why shouldn’t we? Are we lesser New Englanders?

There is a current ballot initiative that would offer Mainers this essential opportunity. The plan would call for contributions by employers and employees and would allow for 12 weeks of paid leave in a year for family emergency or medical situations, and it would guarantee employees their same position (or an equal one) upon their return to work.

Too many people are forced to choose between keeping their job, dealing with their own health issues, or caring for a loved one. This doesn’t seem right to me. When you head to the polls on Nov. 8, please consider signing the petition to support this initiative. Our legislature has discussed this topic. Perhaps getting the issue on the ballot would speed up their process. This is right for Maine. It is time. Let’s get it done!


Cynthia McGuire

West Gardiner

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