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America’s Scarlet Letter #FAMILYAct

December 12, 2013
We need paid leave and we need it now. Today we’re taking one giant step closer to that goal. Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro and Senator Kirsten Gillibrand are introducing the Family and Medical Insurance Leave Act (the FAMILY Act), a bill to provide up to 12 weeks of partial wage replacement to workers who need to take time out to care for themselves and their families. It’s really very simple. Americans who work hard and play by the rules should not have to risk a nose dive into poverty just to care for their loved ones. It’s unacceptable. Times have changed – it’s clear. Women are in the...
Liz Watson's picture

How the FAMILY Act Will Help Direct Care Workers, Their Clients, and Our Economy

December 12, 2013
Next Tuesday, December 12, will be an important day in the fight to help direct care workers and their families and other hard-working people in the U.S. On that day, U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) and U.S. Representative Rosa DeLauro (D-CT) will introduce the Family and Medical Insurance Leave Act (FAMILY Act) , a national paid family and medical leave program, into Congress. Under the bill, nearly all U.S. workers would be able to take a limited period of time off from work while receiving a portion of their wages in order to address a serious health condition of their own or of a...
Jessica Brill Ortiz's picture

How Congress Can Deliver for Working Families: The #FAMILYAct

December 12, 2013
This post originally appeared on Human Rights Watch . When Samantha learned she was pregnant, she hoped for a healthy delivery, a happy baby, and a smooth return to work. Life did not go according to plan. Samantha had a C-section, and the wound got infected. She took eight weeks of leave from work, much of it unpaid. Samantha went into debt, deferred student loans, and dipped into savings. She was in pain when she returned to work, barely able to walk. Her employer then laid her off, saying they wanted someone who could work late shifts with little notice. This week a bill will be introduced...
Janet Walsh's picture

Paid Family Leave: We Shouldn't Have to Choose Between Our Families and our Jobs #FAMILYAct

December 12, 2013
This post was originally published on the AFL-CIO website . Only 12% of the workforce has paid family leave. While the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA)—the nation’s only federal law designed to help working people meet the dual demands of job and family—has kept millions of people from losing their jobs when serious medical needs arise, it doesn’t cover 40% of people on the job. In addition, the FMLA only guarantees unpaid leave, which is unaffordable for many working women and families. The issue of access to paid family leave was one of the serious problems raised earlier this week, when...
Elizabeth Shuler's picture

The FAMILY Act: A Long Overdue Investment in Our Families

December 12, 2013
This blog post was originally published on A Better Balance Blog . When a family member is confronted with a serious illness, or when a new child is born or adopted, many American workers are forced to choose between their jobs and the well-being of their families. Even though most workers will experience the need to provide care to a loved one at some point in their lives, no federal law guarantees American workers paid leave to care for an ill loved one or to bond with a new child. Nevertheless, working families throughout the United States have reason to cheer this week. On Thursday,...
Jared Make's picture

Breastfeeding, Health and Work: Why We Need the FAMILY Act Now

December 12, 2013
Breastfeeding has significant health benefits for babies – from protecting them from illness to reducing the incidence of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS). Children who were breastfed are less likely to develop asthma or become obese. Breastfeeding is also associated with health benefits for women, including decreasing the risk of certain cancers. Families that breastfeed can save hundreds or even thousands of dollars on formula. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that babies be exclusively breastfed until they are 6 months. Yet, even though 75% of women initially breastfeed...
Julia Parish's picture

Paid Leave Keeps Women in Their Jobs and That’s Good for the Economy #FAMILYAct

December 12, 2013
August marked the 20th anniversary of the implementation of the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA); a groundbreaking law that has been used more than 100 million times, helping workers keep their jobs while they care for a family health crisis or a new baby. Unfortunately, because FMLA leave is generally unpaid and has eligibility restrictions, millions who qualify for it can’t afford to take it, and millions who’d like to benefit from it are excluded. Teresa Benns, from Del Norte, Colorado, is one of the fortunate ones who qualified for FMLA. As the primary caregiver for her husband, who is a...
Linda Meric's picture

Bridging the Gap: Bringing the Benefits of Paid Family Leave to American Workers #FAMILYAct

December 12, 2013
This blog post was crossposted from the Institute for Women’s Policy Research FemChat blog . In its founding year, the Institute for Women’s Policy Research (IWPR) analyzed the costs to workers of not having unpaid leave for childbirth, personal health needs, or family caregiving in its inaugural publication, Unnecessary Losses: Costs to Americans of the Lack of Family and Medical Leave . IWPR’s research showed that, by not recognizing the need for work-life balance, established policies not only failed to support workers and their families, but were costly to taxpayers. Now 20 years old, the...
Lindsey Reichlin's picture

The Ripple Effects of the FAMILY Act

December 12, 2013
This blog was crossposted from Family Values @ Work “Unintended consequences” – this is the term we hear all the time from lobbyists for mega corporations when they try to block new policies that would allow people to care for their loved ones and provide for them. “You’re well-intentioned,” they drone, “but you’ll bring about unintended consequences that will hurt the very people you want to help.” What they really mean is: “You’re on your own and we don’t really care what happens to you or your loved one.” We’ll hear plenty of these predictors of doom when Sen. Kristin Gillibrand and Rep...
Ellen Bravo's picture

The Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993 Must be Expanded to Provide Paid Leave #FAMILYAct

December 12, 2013
Will the US join the rest of the modern world – and California, New Jersey and Rhode Island – by supporting, with real policies, family values? That’s the question that the proposed expansion of family and medical leave raises. The extension to the act, to be introduced into the US Congress in early October, proposes paid leave for mothers at the birth of a child and also provides for paid leave when a child must be out of school or daycare for medical reasons. This may sound radical – but it’s not. The US is the only one of the 38 countries, mostly wealthy but some not so wealthy, such as...
Bill Barclay's picture

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