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Ruth Martin's picture

Guess what? It’s "go time" for paid family leave!

Two weeks ago I wrote to tell you that Congress was soon introducing a paid family leave bill, including maternity/paternity leave, called the Family and Medical Insurance Leave Act (FAMILY Act). You can read more about this below.

Now, the time has come! The FAMILY Act will be introduced by Sen. Gillibrand and Rep. DeLauro this Thursday! Introduction is happening on Thursday, Dec. 12! Make sure your members of Congress know you want them to vote YES and sign on as co-sponsors of the FAMILY Act.

I will be delivering your letters to Congress this week, so add your name now!

Why is this important? The FAMILY Act addresses the single most important reason that people cannot take the time they need when serious family and medical needs arise — the financial impossibility of taking unpaid time away from their jobs.

That’s hardly news to MomsRising.Org members Nakeshia, Karen, and Jorddan who all have experience with needing paid family leave:

“I am currently 2 1/2 months pregnant and have already started fretting about what I am going to do when it is time for me to take maternity leave. Not only will I not be paid for the time off, but due to my loss of income I will have to un-enroll my 4 year old from child care because we won’t have the money to cover the expense.” - Nakeshia

“I didn’t have any paid maternity leave, so with both my first and my second baby I went back to teaching classes at the university one week after they were born. I prepared classes while nursing babies, I taught classes with my husband holding the baby outside the door (I wasn’t allowed to drive for six weeks after each C-section). Yes, the university would have given me unpaid leave, but we couldn’t afford unpaid leave. Paid maternity leave is what I needed, and what I should have had.” - Karen

 “After the birth of my third child, I utilized my accumulated vacation to stay at home for ten days. After that time ran out, I had to return to work or we wouldn’t have been able to pay the basic necessities of utilities, water, rent, food, gas, etc.” - Jorddan

Nakeisha, Karen, and Jorddan are far from alone: A mere 12 percent of workers in the United States have paid family leave through their employers, and less than 40 percent have personal medical leave through an employer-provided temporary disability program.

Let’s make paid leave a reality for everyone. Tell your members of Congress to support and co-sponsor the FAMILY Act when it’s introduced next Thursday!

*** You can read more about the FAMILY Act below and forward this to your friends and family so they can take action too!

The FAMILY Act is an insurance program that would provide workers—including those who are self-employed and/or work part time—with much-needed income while they, or a family member, deal with the arrival of a new baby or a serious health issue. Eligible employees could take up to 60 workdays (12 weeks) away from their job with partial wage replacement (up to 66% of their typical wages) to take care of themselves or a family member in a one-year period. The new, self-sustaining fund would be created through very small, shared costs to employees and employers. Employees and employers would contribute two cents for every $10 in wages. Self-employed and part-time employees would earn paid family and medical leave as well.

Under the FAMILY Act, employees could take paid leave provided under this new law for the same reasons that they can take FMLA leave today-for the birth of a child, their own serious health issue, including pregnancy, to deal with the serious health issue of a parent, spouse, domestic partner or child. In addition, the program would allow people to care for a new child and/or be used for particular military caregiving and leave purposes.

PS: On Twitter? Follow #FAMILYAct all day, Thursday, Dec. 12 for live tweets from the press conference about the bill introduction and at 2pm ET for a tweet chat about the FAMILY Act.

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