We celebrate the 23rd anniversary of President Clinton's signing of the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) into law by joining our voices together to call for the next step: a national Paid Family Leave program for all. It's definitely time.
But as we build momentum for Paid Family Leave, it's also time to remember why we need the FMLA. The FMLA provides 12 weeks of unpaid, job-protected leave to bond with a new baby or care for a seriously ill family member. It's true that unpaid leave is not enough, but the job protection under FMLA is crucial so that workers on paid or unpaid leave won't risk termination or face negative consequences for taking time off when their families need them most. We need both paid leave and job protection for the health and well-being of our families.
I'm so glad that there is a growing awareness and demand for family leave in the US. Every one of us will need this at some point. My daughter, in the photo above, had to be hospitalized two years ago for a temporary but serious problem with her legs. It was scary and, of course, I needed to take time off to be with her and care for her. This photo is my reminder of how important the FMLA and paid leave are to working families.
Our leaders are realizing this too. Today Representative Bobby Scott joined theLA Black Worker Center, the Western Center for Law and Poverty and members of many organizations including the California Work & Family Coalition in Los Angeles at a Working Families Round Table to discuss the importance of raising the minimum wage, paid family leave and equal pay to working families.
This week: The New York Paid Family Leave bill passed the Assembly vote! Also, DC is considering Paid Family Leave. And our Los Angeles leaders are working on a paid leave policy for city workers. Check out Ellen Bravo's timely piece, It's Time to Ask, Why Wouldn't You Support Paid Leave?
Take Action: Please tweet your support for a national #paidleave program while celebrating the anniversary of FMLA. Join the party at #FMLA23