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At MomsRising, we hear from our members every day about how lack of access to paid family leave (including maternity and paternity leave) has created economic instability for their families. But it’s not surprising that we hear from so many people: In the U.S., only 12 percent of workers have access to paid family leave. This is despite the fact that study after study has shown the many benefits of paid family leave to families, to tax payers, to businesses, and to the economy. That is why we are so excited that the Family and Medical Leave Insurance Act (the FAMILY Act) will be introduced in Congress on Dec. 12, 2013.

The FAMILY Act would create a national insurance program that would allow eligible workers to take up to 12 weeks of paid leave for their own illness, that of a family member, or following childbirth. A law like the FAMILY Act would be good for workers and for businesses. THE FAMILY Act would bring a myriad of benefits. Not only would it allow workers to take time off when they need it without risking a paycheck or their livelihoods, but paid leave would also reduce worker turnover and the costs associated with recruiting and training new employees. Businesses would also increase in worker loyalty and productivity.

In celebration of the introduction of the FAMILY Act, MomsRising is bringing you this blog carnival — scroll down to see all the posts — where you can read the diverse perspectives of many people and what paid leave means to them.

We welcome you to leave comments on the blog posts that inspire you, and urge you to forward this blog carnival to family and friends so that they can join the conversation. You can also help spread the word and keep up the pressure on our elected leaders by taking action here.

Contributing Writers:

Anne Hedgepeth, AAUW
Making Work Work: We Need Paid Family and Medical Leave

Bill Barclay and Peg Strobel, Democratic Socialists of America
The Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993 Must be Expanded to Provide Paid Leave

Debra L. Ness, National Partnership of Women & Families
Take It From Moms: America’s Families Need the FAMILY Act

Elizabeth Shuler, AFL-CIO
Paid Family Leave: We Shouldn't Have to Choose Between Our Families and our Jobs

Ellen Bravo, Family Values at Work
The Ripple Effects of the Family Act

Erin Hayes, We Rock... They Roll...
My need for Family Leave

Gaylynn Burroughs, Feminist Majority Foundation
Paid Family Medical Leave Shouldn't Be A Luxury

Janet Walsh, Human Rights Watch
How Congress Can Deliver for Working Families

Jared Make and Sherry Leiwant, A Better Balance
The FAMILY Act: A Long Overdue Investment in Our Families

Jenya Cassidy, Next Generation
Paid Family Leave Benefits All Families

Jessica Brill Ortiz, Direct Care Alliance
How the FAMILY Act Will Help Direct Care Workers, Their Clients, and Our Economy

Julia Parish, Legal Aid Society – Employment Law Center in the Gender Equity and LGBT Rights program
Breastfeeding, Health and Work: Why We Need the FAMILY Act Now

Linda Meric, 9to5
Paid Leave Keeps Women in Their Jobs and That’s Good for the Economy

Lindsey Reichlin and Stephanie Román, Institute for Women's Policy Research
Bridging the Gap: Bringing the Benefits of Paid Family Leave to American Workers

Liz Ben-Ishai, CLASP
Paid Family and Medical Leave Insurance Law Would Help Employers Do Good and Do Well

Liz Watson, National Women’s Law Center
America’s Scarlet Letter

Around the Web

"Can Paid Family Leave Increase Men's Participation in Parenting?" - Eileen Applebaum for Center for Economic and Policy Research

"A Dad's Paid Leave Story: Why we need the FAMILY Act" - Family Values at Work

"What the FAMILY Act Means for All Americans" - Sarah Jane Glynn and Jane Farrell for the Center for American Progress

"Time for Paid Leave" - Joan Lombardi for Spotlight on Poverty and Opportunity

"Real Women (and Men) Might Just Get Paid Family Leave. Finally." - Judith Warner for TIME

The views and opinions expressed in this post are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect those of strongly encourages our readers to post comments in response to blog posts. We value diversity of opinions and perspectives. Our goals for this space are to be educational, thought-provoking, and respectful. So we actively moderate comments and we reserve the right to edit or remove comments that undermine these goals. Thanks!