Target: Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid
Goal: Require employers to give employees paid parenting leave
New parents are having increasingly rare opportunities to spend time caring for their newborns or sick family members while still earning some income. New mothers especially find themselves forced to quit work or are fired for their new familial responsibilities. This should not be the case in the United States, when other countries such as the U.K. and Ireland have more than 26 weeks leave for new mothers. In addition, the United States has zero federal laws for paternity leave, when even countries like Finland and Iceland have 54 days and 3 months, respectively. New legislation, called the FAMILY Act, has been introduced that would require employers to give new parents paid leave.
California, New Jersey, and Rhode Island have all implemented mandatory paid family leave programs. Still, only 12 percent of employed individuals have paid family leave, according to AmericanProgress.org. The FAMILY Act, introduced by Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand and Rep. Rosa DeLauro, would mandate that all employers give 12 weeks paid leave to employees with a newborn, a very ill family member, or for their own health. Currently, if workers need to leave work for 12 weeks, they would be spending over $9,000. In addition, new mothers would not feel forced to leave their careers definitively to take care of their newborns. Women would have an opportunity to return to their work when they are ready. Per the FAMILY act, an acronym for Family and Medical Insurance Leave Act, workers would contribute 0.2% of their wages into a social security-type program that would then allow them to take those 12 weeks when necessary. This is monumental legislation that would help the United States follow its industrialized counterparts that have these successful paid leaves.
Tell the Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and his Senate colleagues to support the FAMILY Act and help American workers.
Dear Senator Harry Reid,
The recent hearing on paid family leave is an important step forward in addressing an issue that affects all working Americans. Because no federal laws are in place to require employers to give workers paid leave, families are left stranded without income for long periods of time. This negatively effects all involved: employers, workers, and, most importantly, families. By approving the FAMILY Act, you would ensure that families with newborns, ill relatives, or very sick workers all have the opportunity to take time off without drastic financial consequences.
I ask that you vote in favor of the FAMILY Act and encourage the rest of your Senate colleagues to do so, as well.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: Parent Map Magazine via WILPF