Governor’s budget to support working families, strengthen workforce

Gov. Tony Evers this week is traveling across the state highlighting initiatives included in his 2023–25 biennial budget to support working families, strengthen the state’s workforce, and maintain the economy’s momentum, such as creating a 12-week paid family and medical leave program, investing in child care for working families, and building the 21st-century workforce and infrastructure Wisconsin needs.

Evers says his budget invests in continuing the economy’s momentum with several comprehensive initiatives to support working families and strengthen the state’s workforce. Among them, Evers is proposing creating a first-of-its-kind Wisconsin Paid Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) Program administered by the Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development.

Under the paid FMLA Program, workers will be eligible for 12 weeks of leave beginning Jan. 1, 2025. This program will be self-sustaining by 2026, and benefits will be funded through payroll contributions shared equally by an employer and an employee, much like the current Unemployment Insurance system.

The governor’s proposal also expands eligibility for workers to use family and medical leave, paid or not, to include deployment of a spouse or child and an unforeseen or unexpected closure of a school or child care facility, among other modifications.

Additionally, Evers is proposing investments in Wisconsin’s child care industry and workforce, including strategies that create opportunities for new programs, encourage development for prospective care provider employees, support existing providers, and encourage employers to partner with care providers.