Evelin’s story about the importance of Family and Medical Leave Insurance

evelin and fmaily

Evelin with her husband and kids

Evelin testified in front of the Senate Labor Committee about why Family and Medical Leave Insurance is so important:

My dad has been sick since October. My sister and I kept urging him to go to the doctor, but he didn’t want to miss work and pay a lot of doctor’s bills. It finally got so bad that we took him to the emergency room.

The doctor said he had urine backing up into his kidneys, and if he didn’t have the problem taken care of, he would end up on dialysis.

He needs surgery, but he would need to be off work for 6 weeks to recover, and doesn’t have that much sick leave and vacation saved up. He’s worried about how he’ll pay his bills and the extra medical costs, and he’s afraid if he misses too much work, he’ll lose his job…

Read the rest of Evelin’s story here >

Urgent! Tell WA state senators to improve – not repeal – paid family leave

Momsrising_logo

Via MomsRising.org, a member of the Washington Family Leave Coalition.

This is no “Chicken Little” or “The Boy Who Cried Wolf” situation: Washington families, and families-to-be, need your help today.

What’s going on? In 2007, we came together to pass a paid family leave law so that parents could spend 5 weeks at home after the birth or arrival of a new child. In the tangled way of legislative politics, the implementation of this bill is still being worked out.

But instead of pushing for forward movement, some state legislators in Olympia are trying to go backwards and repeal the law before it can start.[1]

*Tell your Washington State Senators that they should be working for families, not against us. And to vote “NO” on SB 5159:

http://action.momsrising.org/letter/WA_FMLI_repeal1

A new life, a new dad. [flicker creative commons]

A new life, a new dad. [flicker creative commons]

It’s time to move forward, not backwards. In fact, Washington State Senator Karen Keiser and Representative Tami Green just introduced bills to move forward the implementation of paid family leave in Washington–and that’s the direction we should go. [2] (We’ll update you on that bill soon).

Why is paid family leave so important?

Paid family leave gives kids a healthier start. It gives families the economic security they need to stay out of poverty at a critical time. It can even benefit businesses bottom line.This saves everyone–from parents to taxpayers to businesses–money in the long-run.

That’s right. Studies show that paid family leave after the birth of a child combats poverty, gives children a healthy start, lowers infant mortality by more than 20%[3] and helps lower the wage gap between women and men. [4]

Yet, in the United States, only 49% of mothers are able to cobble together paid leave following childbirth by using sick days, vacation days, disability leave, and maternity leave. And 51% of new mothers lack any paid leave — so some take unpaid leave, some quit, some even lose their jobs just when they need them most.[5] No wonder having a baby is a leading cause of “poverty spells” in our nation!

In addition, a number of studies have shown that maternity leave has a positive impact on how long women breastfeed and thus on the long-term health of the child and mother.This is important because major medical authorities recommend that infants be exclusively breastfed for their first six months because of significant health benefits for both mother and child.Despite the government’s Healthy People 2010 breastfeeding goals, only 13.6% of U.S. infants are exclusively breastfeeding and only 43% are breastfeeding at all at six months of age.[6] Recently the U.S. Surgeon General called paid family leave policies important for families and babies health linking the ability of new moms to take paid leave to increased rates of breastfeeding.[7]

Paid family leave isn’t just good for families it also benefits employers.A recent study of the California Paid Leave program showed that most employers found that the Paid Family Leave had a positive effect on productivity, profitability/performance, turnover and employee morale.[8] In addition, paid family leave helps level the playing field for many small businesses which wouldn’t normally be able to afford leave since the majority of legislative proposals for paid family are paid for by small employee paycheck deductions and NOT by businesses. It’s a win-win.

Butwhile 177 other countries have some form of paid leave for new moms after the birth of a child,the U.S. isn’t one of them, an omission that sets up our families for failure.[9]

*Don’t forget to take a moment now to tell your Washington StateSenatorsthat they should be working for families, not against us. And to vote “NO” on SB 5159:

http://action.momsrising.org/letter/WA_FMLI_repeal1

*And please forward this email to at least three friends in Washington State who you think might take action too.

Together were a more powerful voice for women and families.

-Kristin, Ruth, Sarah, and the while MomsRising team

P.S.Can you take a moment to share your experiences with family leave(or your experiences with a lack of family leave)? What did you–or your friends or family members–do when a new child arrived? http://action.momsrising.org/why_family_leave_is_important_to_you

[1] Seattle Times: Dueling bills introduced on paid family leave law

[2] ibid

[3] Sakiko Tanaka. Parental Leave and Child Health Across OECD Countries. Economic Journal 115, no. 501 (2005)

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

[5] Bureau of Labor Statistics. Press Release: Employment Characteristics of Families 2009. May 2010

[6] Centers for Disease Control. Breastfeeding Report Card, United States. 2010

[7] Department of Health and Human Services. Press Release: Everyone Can Help Make Breastfeeding Easier, Surgeon General Says in Call to Action. Jan. 20, 2011

[8] Applebaum, Eileen and Ruth Milkman. Leaves that Pay: Employer and Worker Experiences with Paid Family Leave in California. January 2011

[9] Raising the Global Floor

Why do paid sick days matter to you? Let’s hear your story!

The Seattle Coalition for a Healthy Workforce is collecting stories about paid sick days, and they want to hear from you. Your contribution will help more people understand why paid sick days are so important in today’s workplace.

It’s easy to do, anonymous (if you want) and will only take a couple of minutes — click here to learn more and get started.

What about Dad? Take a survey about how work-family issues impact men

Much has been written about family and work responsibilities from the perspective of women. But is balancing work and family also an issue for men?

MomsRising.org, a national go-to organization for work/family issues, would like to learn more about your perspective. Please take 10-15 minutes to tell us about your experiences at work and being a dad.

Your answers will remain confidential and will only be shared in summary form. Your responses will help MomsRising better understand the perspective of fathers on handling work and family responsibilities.

Click here to go to the survey »

Don’t punish people for getting sick!

Via MomsRising:

We’re moms and dads. We know firsthand how fast the flu travels through our workplaces, schools, and child care centers. We’ve been up at 3 am half-focused on caring for a sick child and half-focused on the related “what ifs?” What if I send her to school sick? Will she get worse, or get others sick? What if I stay home from work with her tomorrow? Will I lose a day’s pay, or even my job? So, we totally get the need for paid sick days. But over 50 million of us aren’t allowed to earn them. [1]

Meanwhile, our elected officials don’t get it – and, not surprisingly, most of them already have paid sick days.

Let’s show our elected officials how important the right to earn paid sick days is for moms and families: Share how having paid sick days has helped you or your business–or share how NOT having paid sick days has impacted your life: http://bit.ly/d0r5MF

MomsRising will compile your experiences into a book and then we’ll deliver that book to members of Congress and other key policy makers for their summer reading along with the message that passing paid sick days is a small thing they can do which can have a big impact on our families’ economic security.

Why are paid sick days so important? Just ask these MomsRising members:

“Because I work 32 hours a week, I am not eligible for any health care, vacation days, paid holidays, or sick days. Therefore, I work when I’m sick, and send my kids to daycare when I think they might be getting sick or before they’re all better, because otherwise I don’t get paid.” –Brooke, MI

“I am a stay at home mom of 3 little ones. My two year old child has leukemia. My older kids’ teachers and nurse call me and let me know what is going around school because staying healthy is so important in our house. Many parents send their kids to school sick-which can result in sickness in our house and put the baby at risk for hospitalization. I do wish people could keep their kids home but understand why they can’t. As a former teacher, I know this also happens to even the teachers not being able to take off work for their own sick child. Everyone benefits if we can take better care of our families.” – Cindy, MO

I don’t know what I would do without paid sick days. My husband lost his job 6 months ago and as the sole wage earner in our family, I would not be able to afford losing a day’s wages by staying home if sick. Our children are grown and on their own, but we have parents that need our help with getting to doctor’s appointments and such, and having paid sick leave available allows us to help take care of ourselves and our families. – Ann, CA

Tell us about what’s happening in your life so we can share your experiences with Congress.

Just finish one of these two sentences: “I need paid sick days because…” or “Without paid sick days I wouldn’t be able to…” here: http://bit.ly/d0r5MF

Paid sick days are good for working families, for public health, and for business. Paid sick days would help contain health care costs through prevention, early detection, and treatment of illness. With paid sick days, families will not be forced to send sick children to school where they will likely infect classmates and teachers; workers with paid sick days would not spread illness to their coworkers and customers. Providing paid sick days turns out to be smart business too because it increases employee morale, productivity at work and reduces costly turnover.

Everyone gets sick. When we’re worried about our kids’ health or our own health, we shouldn’t also have to worry if we’ll still have a job when we get better.

Share your thoughts and experiences now, and we’ll put them all together in one book to educate policy leaders about what’s really going on in our nation: http://bit.ly/d0r5MF

Thank you for all that you do!

[1] Institute for Women’s Policy Research. 2010. “Paid Sick Days Can Help Contain Health Care Costs.” http://www.iwpr.org/pdf/B291HCCosts.pdf