Covid-19 revealed financial insecurities that forced workers and employers to consider the need for rainy-day savings, said Democratic State Treasurer Colleen Davis.
Davis said timing was critical for getting the bill across the finish line. As her office was trying to get the EARNS project in front of lawmakers in Dover, the legislative session was taken over by bills to hike the state’s minimum wage and enact a paid family and medical leave program. It was difficult to disassociate her project from what appeared to be yet another employer mandate, she said.
Yet the pandemic and a tough labor market combined in such a way that it was possible to craft a savings message that would appeal to pro-business Republicans.
“I think it helped that the environment was a very challenging labor market where folks were short-staffed,” Davis said. “They could not find qualified employees across the board. In some ways, we got lost in the negative noise, but we took our time to build momentum.”