Take Action: Tell Congress Families Need Paid Family Leave!Posted June 25th, 2012 by Ruth Martin
We’re expecting that Congress will soon receive a special delivery message from moms and dads that families need paid family leave! The “stork” (i.e. MomsRising moms) will be delivering thousands of signatures to our open letter to Congress on Tuesday, July 10th.
Have you signed on yet?
*Help us reach our goal of 15,000 signatures for the “stork” to deliver. Click here to sign on:
We frequently hear from our members about how important paid leave policies are for their families’ health and economic well-being. MomsRising members like Heidi who shared:
I took three weeks off after Caesarian surgery when I gave birth to my son. Would I have liked more time to recover? Yes. Did I need more time with my newborn son who was suffering from jaundice and who was born a month early? Yes. That wasn’t an option. I was lucky to be able to have a job waiting for me thanks to the Family Medical Leave Act, but I couldn’t afford more than three weeks [unpaid leave], especially with the hospital bills waiting to be paid. I bought a breast pump second hand and pumped in the break room, carrying the milk back and forth with me. It was miserable, exhausting and heartbreaking, but I had no choice.
MOMentum for paid family leave is growing at the grassroots level – and we need to take it to the top. We need to make sure that Congress is feeling the force of mothers calling for a national paid family leave law.
Help us get to 15,000 signatures in support of paid family leave! Sign the petition today and we’ll deliver it on Tuesday, July 10.
There is reason to be hopeful: The President has included $5 million dollars in the annual budget that individual states could use to start family leave insurance programs that would allow workers to be able to take paid time off of work to care for new children (biological or adopted) and ailing family members. 
Paid family leave is good for moms, dads, and babies. Moreover, as a new study shows, paid family leave boosts the economy and saves taxpayer dollars too. [
Wait a minute: Paid family leave is good for the economy?
Yes! Paid family leave is a win-win. Recent research from the Center for Women and Work at Rutgers shows that:
- Women who take paid leave are 39% less likely to need or receive public assistance 
- Women who take paid leave are 40% less likely to need or receive food stamps in the year following a child’s birth when compared to those who do not take any leave 
- Paid family leave also reduces the chance that a family receiving public assistance will increase its use of public funding following a child’s birth 
- Women who use paid leave are more likely to be working 9-12 months after a child’s birth than those who do not take any leave 
- And these women also report increases in wages before and after birth 
Study author Linda Houser notes: “While we have known for a long time about the maternal and infant health benefits of leave policies, we can now link paid family leave to greater labor force attachment and increased wages for women as well as to reduced spending by businesses in the form of employee replacement costs, and by governments in the form of public assistance.” 
That is some sweet news! And good timing too, because for the first time in history, women comprise half of the paid labor force, three-quarters of moms are in the labor force and the majority of families need two working parents to make ends meet. This, and the fact that over 80% of women in our nation have children by the time they are 44, add up – and you can see why this should be the same high level priority issue for Congress that it is for our MomsRising members.
It is long overdue for our public policies to catch up to modern realities.
*Sign our open letter to Congress to support paid family leave policies for families! The “stork” will do a special delivery of your signatures to Congress on Tuesday, July 10th along with the message that we can’t afford to wait! http://action.momsrising.org/sign/pfl_petition/
And please forward this to at least three friends you think might like to take action too–and also post this action link on your Facebook page.
Together we’re a powerful voice for women and families.
P.S. Can you take a moment to share your experiences with family leave (or your experiences with a lack of family leave)? What did you–or your friends or family members–do when a new child arrived? http://www.momsrising.org/member_stories/topic/paid-family-leave-stories_1/submit/mrstory/paid-family-leave
[2-7] Linda Houser, PhD and Thomas Vartanian, PhD “Pay Matters: The Positive Economic Impacts of Paid Family Leave for Families, Businesses and the Public,” A Report for the Center for Women and Work, January 2012 (download here: http://action.