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"If we got even two calls from our constituents about this letter, that would make a huge impression on the Senator," a Senate staff person recently told us. She was referring to a letter circulating in the halls of the Senate that, if only a handful of Senators sign it, could have broad reaching and positive implications for the future of family leave programs in the U.S.

Holy Paid Family Leave, Batgirl! Only two calls per Senator would make a difference!? Turns out your phone is more powerful than the batphone! Will you call your Senators' offices and ask them to sign on to this letter in support of paid family leave programs? Their phone numbers and a brief sample phone script for you to use are below, or just click here:

*Share this blog post with your friends and family so they can pick up their batphones too!
Leapin'-letters! What's this all about?
When you call, you'll be asking your Senators to sign on to what is called a "member-to-member" letter -- that means that it's a letter to Senators from Senators. It asks the Senate Appropriations Committee to support full funding of a State Paid Leave Fund. This fund, proposed by President Obama, would provide $50 million in competitive grants to help states launch paid leave programs.

A little seed money can go a long way toward advancing new policies, and it's never been more critical to push forward paid family leave programs.

SPLATT! ZAP! ZOWIE! Fight poverty now with Paid Family Leave:
Having a baby is a leading cause of a "poverty spell" in our nation -- a time when income slips below what's needed for food and rent [1]. Twenty percent of families with children under age 5 are living in poverty [2]. Caregivers of older relatives also face economic challenges: More than a third of caregivers (37 percent) reported that they had to quit work or reduce their hours because of their care giving responsibilities. [3]

It doesn't have to be this way. Paid family leave helps stop family poverty before it starts by offering a bridge of economic security when working people must take time off after a new child arrives or to care for their loved ones. With family leave insurance in place, struggling families will have the peace of mind they deserve via the insurance fund when they take the essential time to adjust to a new child or provide care for a seriously ill family member.

Paid family leave can also help lower wage gaps between women and men. The wage gaps mothers face are huge, and they significantly contribute to family poverty: Women without kids make about 90 cents to a man's dollar, mothers make less at 73 cents to a man's dollar, and single moms make only about 60 cents per a man's dollar [4]. That wage gap literally takes money that families deserve right off the table. Studies show that having family-friendly policies in place, like paid family leave, actually lowers the wage gaps between men and women. [5]

Pick up your batphone today--and ask your frieds to make calls too: Just two calls from your state to your Senators could be enough to get them to sign on. You have an incredible amount of changemaking power right now from your very own phone!

Call today--the deadline for your Senators to sign is Tuesday!! Click here to tell us you've called:

SAMPLE SCRIPT FOR YOU TO USE WHEN YOU CALL: Here's what to say when you call (you will likely be leaving a message)

Hi, I'm [YOUR NAME], and I live in [YOUR STATE]. I'm calling to ask Senator NAME to please sign on to a member to member letter currently being circulated by Senator Dodd. This letter asks the Senate Appropriations Committee to support full funding of the State Paid Leave Fund proposed in the President’s budget. As a member of, paid family leave is a critical issue to me and my family. Please contact Senator Dodd's office to sign this important letter today. Thank you.

After you call, click here to report back to us about how it went.

Thank you. Together we are a powerful voice for women, children, and families.

1. Jodi Grant et al., Expecting Better: A State-by-State Analysis of Parental Leave Programs (Washington, D.C.: National Partnership for Women and Families, 2005)

2. The National Center for Children in Poverty at Columbia University: Who are America's Poor Children? The Official Story. Authors: Sarah Fass and Nancy K. Cauthen. Publication Date: November 2007

3. National Alliance for Caregiving/Evercare, Study of Family Caregivers, 2007

4. Jane Waldfogel, "Understanding the 'Family Gap' in Pay for Women with Children," Journal of Economic Perspectives 12, no. 1 (1998), 137-156

5. Jane Waldfogel, "Understanding the 'Family Gap' in Pay for Women with Children," Journal of Economic Perspectives 12, no. 1 (1998), 137-156

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