U.S. Labor Secretary Perez praises R.I. on paid leave program (April 23, 2013)

By Kate Bramson, Providence Journal

PAWTUCKET, R.I. — U.S. Labor Secretary Thomas E. Perez expects to tour two Pawtucket companies Friday and give a keynote address Saturday at a conference at Brown University, his alma mater, focused on social enterprises improving local economies.

His visit is part of a national tour pitching President Barack Obama’s call for businesses to offer employees paid leave and flexibility to handle family commitments. Such worker flexibility is good for business, and Rhode Island is leading the country in these efforts, Perez said in an interview.

He praised the new Temporary Caregivers Insurance program that allows people to take paid time off from work to care for sick relatives or newborns: “I need one hand to count the number of states that have done what Rhode Island is doing.”

Perez said he’s eager to learn more in a state where employers and political leaders have committed to paid leave. He’ll tour Gold International Machinery and LNA Laser Technology.

After traveling around the world studying the issue, Perez said several stories stand out:

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