In a September 27th article in the Huffington Post, Susan Ochshorn calls for Paid Family Leave. This comes just weeks after Working Mother announced their plans to push for Federal Paid Family Leave by 2014. In 1993, the US passed the Family & Medical Leave act, requiring employers of 50 or more to provide unpaid, job protected maternity leave for 12 weeks. This is the last time our country dealt with the issue of leave after childbirth.
FML only impacts some of the population. 40% of the current workforce aren’t even eligible and for low-income workers the percentage is much higher. Lets be real, for most people, the first three months after having a baby aren’t an oportune time to stop getting paid. Not to mention how quick three months is when you’re talking about bonding between parents and newborn.
During a child’s first year of life the synapses in their brains are firing at rapid pace, building connections and the very foundation for children’s social, emotional and cognitive development. Our country, our state and our elected officials should support families and ensure that children get off to a healthy and safe start by investing in paid family leave.
There is only one way that this will get done in our time–if we ensure that Paid Family Leave becomes a priority in our state and for our country. Join the movement. Start talking about paid family leave as a necessity, not an ideal. The US is one of three countries that doesn’t mandate paid leave for new moms–us, Swaziland, and Papua New Guinea. It’s about time we get into the 21st century and really invest in families values.