Category Archives: Paid Family Leave

Get the Scoop!: The Business of Paid Family and Medical Leave

Seattle Ice Cream GraphicMomsRising and Molly Moon invite you to join other leaders for an important, bipartisan discussion on paid family and medical leave.

Join business, elected, and community leaders, along with local families, to talk about this important issue and how it impacts our businesses, families, and our communities. Enjoy Molly Moon’s homemade ice cream and appetizers!

Full details and RSVP here »

You Decide: Will Washington be next to pass paid sick leave?

voteNow YOU get to make the decisions! After all the ads and negativity of this campaign season, now is your chance to vote for healthier families and stronger communities.

Make Washington the 6th state to pass paid sick days: YES on Initiative 1433

Initiative 1433 assures every worker in Washington has the opportunity to earn at least 1 hour of paid sick leave for every 40 hours they work — 6 or 7 days a year if they work full time. It would also raise the state minimum wage in four steps to $13.50 in 2020.

Why It Matters:

  • 1 million people working in Washington don’t get a single day of paid sick leave now. Many of them work in lower wage jobs in restaurants, retail, and caregiving. That means when they have the flu, their child is sick, or their elderly parent has to go to the doctor, they make a choice – sacrifice family and public health or lose that day’s pay.
  • The current minimum wage of $9.47 isn’t enough to cover the basics for even a single person in communities across our state. Over 90% of the lowest wage workers are adults, many with families to support. A higher minimum wage boosts struggling families, and when workers spend more, that helps local businesses and our whole economy.

Visit Raise Up Washington to learn more about Initiative 1433.

Your votes for state legislators will decide progress on Paid Family Leave, Equal Pay, and more! 

It’s a long ballot — don’t give up! Your choice for state legislators will matter on our two BIG priorities for the 2017-18 legislature: Equal Pay and Paid Family and Medical Leave.

Why It Matters:

  • Let’s end the wage gap! Fair pay and equal career opportunities for women benefit workers families and businesses too — and help build a stronger future for communities all across Washington.
  • In states that already have paid family and medical leave programs, new babies and moms are healthier, women earn more a year following childbirth, and new dads take more time with a new baby. Workers are also able to cope with their own health crisis or a seriously ill family member without falling into a financial crisis.

Check out your candidates’ positions on paid family and medical leave here

Behind the Polls: Why Voters Want Time to Care

Hila Ritter and her husband in Portland, OR, both work-full time. Yet neither job includes any paid leave. So Hila worked while ill during her pregnancy to hold on to her sick days and saved up her vacation days. Still, most of her maternity leave came without pay. For this couple, the joy of a new baby was coupled with depleted savings, debt, and the need to apply for food stamps.

What about those with no paid leave and no savings? Chantia Lewis and her husband and baby in Milwaukee had to move in with her parents. Shelby Ramirez in Denver, who needed a few weeks to care for her daughter and her father after surgeries, received eviction notices and had to pawn the only thing of value she owned. Elizabeth Fredette in Massachusetts worked 12-hour days in her last month of pregnancy instead of the bed rest her doctor ordered, and was back at work within four weeks of giving birth.

These women are advocates of paid family leave—and they’re not alone. A recent poll by Public Policy Polling (PPP) in 15 key electoral states found strong support for policies like paid sick days and paid family leave—and a clear connection between that support and the hardship families experience when those policies are not in place. Like Hila, Chantia, Shelby, and Elizabeth, nearly 60 percent of those polled said they would face significant economic hardship if they had to take time without pay to care for a newborn or a seriously ill loved one or to deal with their own major illness.

The only federal law in the U.S. regarding family leave is the 23-year-old Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA). It allows for 12 weeks of *unpaid* leave to care for a new child or recover from serious illness and guarantees a person can return their job. But it applies only to businesses with 50+ employees, and to be eligible, workers need a year with a company and 25 hours/week of work. That leaves out 40% of the workforce! Millions of people have to skip treatments or return to their jobs too soon.

Read more: Behind the Polls: Why Voters Want Time To Care »

It doesn’t have to be this way! Join the Washington Work and Family Coalition as we work to pass Paid Family and Medical Leave for Washington in 2017: http://bit.ly/joinwaworkfam

Vote for an opportunity economy

king-county-ballot-drop-boxYou got your ballot in the mail. Now what? Vote!  Our votes up and down the ballot will help shape our state and nation for decades into the future. Among the many important issues and candidates, Initiative 1433 and the Sound Transit measure allow us to directly boost economic opportunity and vitality in our communities.

Growing income inequality is harming our families and undermining our democracy. In the 1980s, President Reagan and Congress launched a cycle of tax cuts on the wealthy and disinvestment in infrastructure, education, and other basic services that assaulted economic security for millions of working families and still limit our vision of what we can achieve together.

The policies of austerity have allowed the rich to grow fantastically wealthy, while the majority of households struggle, and opportunities for young people remain hemmed in by race, gender, and circumstances of birth.

Initiative 1433 will raise the statewide minimum wage in four steps, beginning with $11.00 in 2017, up to $13.50 in 2020, followed by cost of living adjustments. Washington’s current minimum wage of $9.47 isn’t enough for even a single person to cover the basics in most parts of the state. Over 90% of the lowest wage workers are adults, many with children and families to support.

Without I-1433, minimum wage outside Seattle will rise only 6 cents in 2017 based on general inflation. But rent and other necessities are skyrocketing in communities large and small around the state.

I-1433 also assures every worker in Washington has the opportunity to earn a few days paid sick leave. Seattle, Tacoma, and Spokane have adopted local sick leave laws, but still 1 million peopleworking in Washington – including across south King County – don’t get a single day of sick leave now.

Many of them work in lower wage jobs in restaurants, retail, and caregiving. That means when they have the flu, their child is sick, or their elderly parent has to go to the doctor, they make a choice – sacrifice family and public health or lose that day’s pay, and maybe their job.

Naysayers like to wring their hands and cry job loss every time stronger labor standards are proposed. But their dire predictions just don’t come true. In fact, the past two decades of experienceshow that raising the minimum wage increases incomes for low wage workers and decreases costly turnover. That means working families spend more and businesses spend less on hiring and training new workers.

The family economic stability that results from higher wages and access to sick leave means kids will be healthier and do better in school and in later life. Our whole community benefits from this common sense policy.

Investing in transportation infrastructure also has multiple immediate and lasting benefits. It creates good jobs now, helps grow the middle class, and stimulates economic growth across business sectors. Expanding public transit allows people of all income levels access to a broader range of jobs and schooling.

It reduces pressure on highways so that goods and people who do rely on them move more efficiently, wasting less time and fuel. It’s one of the absolutely necessary investments we need to make to slow and mitigate climate change, which hits low-income families and communities of color the hardest.

Our votes for state legislature and the whole long list of other candidates right on up to President matter, too, in determining the kind of society we will be and the shape of the world we will leave our children and grandchildren. It’s a long ballot, but our mail-in voting system means we can vote in the comfort of our homes, taking the time to consult the voters’ guide, check out endorsements, and do some research on the issues we don’t understand. Don’t wait until November 8 to get started!

Original: South Seattle Emerald »

Now Hiring: Communications Manager, Paid Family and Medical Leave Campaign

Communications Manager, Paid Family and Medical Leave Campaign

Reports to: Policy Director

Location: Seattle, Washington; Olympia, Washington

General Description

The Economic Opportunity Institute is seeking a temporary communications manager to plan and oversee all aspects of communications for the Washington Work and Family Coalition’s upcoming legislative campaign to pass Paid Family and Medical Leave in Washington.

The person in this position will work closely with EOI Policy Director and Washington Work and Family Coalition Organizer to provide strategic and day-to-day communications support for Washington Work and Family Coalition – specifically the effort to pass and fund a Paid Family and Medical Leave program during the 2017 legislative session.

Responsibilities include, but are not limited to:

  • Assisting with message development.
  • Utilizing creative outreach to build coalition email/membership lists.
  • Conducting online mobilization efforts via social media and email.
  • Managing content for an existing blog/website (using WordPress.com).
  • Leading media outreach and responding to media inquiries.
  • Editing and producing printed materials (fact sheets, reports, briefs).
  • Preparing, and briefing coalition members on, talking points before and during campaign effort.

The ideal candidate will have: experience suitable for/applicable to the job description above; personal transportation and availability for occasional travel to Olympia before and during the legislative session; and capacity to work part-time in a dedicated workspace at the offices of the Economic Opportunity Institute (located in downtown Seattle).

Timeframe

Start date is ASAP, working through anticipated end of 2017 legislative session (likely spring, possibly early summer 2017).

Compensation

This is a contract position. Hours and pay are negotiable.

To Apply

Send a cover letter and resume as a single PDF document detailing your interest in and qualifications for the position to info@eoionline.org, Attn: Marilyn Watkins. Applicants wishing to submit additional materials should incorporate them into the same PDF document with their cover letter and resume.

On Your Mark, Give Birth, Go Back To Work

Tricia Olson takes a selfie of herself and her son Augustus, or Gus, who sits in his car seat. Olson took three weeks of unpaid leave from her job at a towing company in Rock Springs, Wyo., after giving birth. Courtesy of Tricia Olson

Tricia Olson takes a selfie of herself and her son Augustus, or Gus, who sits in his car seat. Olson took three weeks of unpaid leave from her job at a towing company in Rock Springs, Wyo., after giving birth. (Courtesy of Tricia Olson)

On her first day back at work after giving birth, Tricia Olson drank copious amounts of coffee, stuffed tissues in her pocket, and tried not to cry. After all, her son Gus was just 3 weeks old.

Olson, 32, works for a small towing company and U-Haul franchise in Rock Springs, Wyo., and she could not afford to be away from work any longer.

“The house bill’s not going to pay itself,” she says, her voice breaking in an audio diary she kept as part of a series on the challenges facing working parents airing on NPR’sAll Things Considered.

Olson is one of just four employees she says are “like family,” and like many U.S. workers, she has no paid leave at all: not for vacation, not if she gets sick, and certainly not for parental leave.

Normally, she’s the only one in the office to take calls. Her boss agreed to fill in for her for three weeks after the delivery, but she says “even just that … makes me feel guilty.”

Olson is hardly alone in returning to work so early. But this is a uniquely American problem.

Ed. Note: It doesn’t have to be this way! The Washington Work and Family Coalition is working with champions in the legislature to craft a paid family and medical proposal for our state that we hope to pass in 2017. Join the cause here: http://bit.ly/2cQCLrz

Read more: NPR.org »