MomsRising.org Executive Director Calls the FAMILY Act Good for Families, Businesses and Public Health
December 11, 2013
STATEMENT OF KRISTIN ROWE-FINKBEINER, Executive Director and CEO, MomsRising.org, On the National Family and Medical Leave Insurance Program (“FAMILY Act”)
“The Family and Medical Leave Act, passed 20 years ago, has quite literally helped millions of people – moms, dads and others – take time off to attend to their or a family member’s medical needs. It has been a blessing. But that leave is unpaid and the law doesn’t cover 40 percent of the workforce.
“It’s time for an update to this now two-decades-old law. It’s time for a federal paid leave law. Right now, only about one in ten workers has access to paid family leave. That means that most workers cannot take paid leave after the birth of a child, when they are seriously ill, or to take care of a critically ill family member. And many workers can’t take any leave at all without risking their jobs. No wonder having a baby is a leading cause of poverty spells for women in this country.
“The Family and Medical Insurance Leave Act, also known as 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 this would be good for workers and for businesses. In addition to allowing workers to take time off when they need it without risking a paycheck or their livelihoods, paid leave reduces worker turnover and the costs associated with recruiting and training new employees and it increases worker loyalty and often productivity along with it.
“So far, three states have passed paid leave laws and the number will only continue to grow. What’s more, in California, which has had such a law since 2004, the vast majority of employers report that they’ve seen either a positive or no effect on productivity, profitability and performance.
"Right now, more than 170 countries offer some form of paid leave to new moms. The United States isn't one of them.
"It's time for us to catch up to the modern realities: women comprise half of our nation’s labor force and 81 percent of women become moms by the time they're 44.
“As an organization with about a million members that represents moms across the country, MomsRising.org strongly endorses the FAMILY Act and urges the House of Representatives to pass it.”