Target: U.S. Congress
Goal: Protect workers and their families by expanding leave of work policies in the U.S.
Because the United States is one of only four nations in the world without a paid parental leave policy, our existing national policy on leave of work should at least be comprehensive in its provision of benefits. Passed in 1993, the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) guarantees eligible workers up to twelve weeks of unpaid leave and the right to return to the same job or one with equivalent duties, pay and benefits. However, this policy has many eligibility exemptions that are unacceptable and must be amended.
The FMLA only covers leave to care for parents, legal spouses, and children, meaning that siblings, parents-in-law, and unrecognized spouses are excluded. This is particularly disgraceful in a period where same-sex marriage is legal in only twelve states, thus denying the majority of same-sex couples the right to care for their partners. This policy also only applies for companies with over 50 employees, and for individuals that have worked 1,250 hours in the past year, which is unfavorable for employees of small organizations or who work part-time. Even among higher earners, employers can designate employees as “key” and prohibit them from accessing FMLA benefits. Our current economic climate already disadvantages workers in favor of greater profit; Congress must protect the rights of workers to care for themselves and their families without penalty.
By signing below, you will ask Congress to expand coverage of FMLA benefits to include care for sibling, parents-in-law, and domestic partners and to end the exemptions for smaller companies, part-time workers and “key” employees. As contributing citizens, all workers in the United States should have the right to care for themselves and their loved ones.
Dear U.S. Congress,
The United States lags behind other nations in the provision of economic and social benefits for family and medical leave of absence. In light of this, it is only appropriate that our existing policy, the Family and Medical Leave Act, be updated to include important and shameful omissions from the original legislation.
The policy must be expanded to include other family members, including siblings, parents-in-law, and domestic partners in order to reflect the changing shape of households in our society. As a nation that prides itself on family values, these omissions of family members are disgraceful and must be addressed. In addition, companies with less than 50 employees must not be exempted, nor can part-time or “key” employees be excluded from accessing needed benefits.
America is one of four countries in the world, and the only industrialized nation, to lack a national paid parental leave policy; therefore, our existing policy of unpaid leave must be universally accessible to all employees if America wishes to maintain its reputation of economic prosperity. Please take action to make the Family and Medical Leave Act more comprehensive in its coverage of our upstanding but vulnerable workforce.
[Your Name Here]