Wednesday, May 7, 2008

AAUW Supports Paid Family Leave

As Mother's Day approaches, we think of our mothers and other family members who cared for us over the years and of those for whom we care. In honor of this day, AFSCME Local 965 joins with the American Association of University Women and asks you to urge our senators to support the Family Leave Insurance Act (S. 1681). This important legislation will provide up to eight weeks of paid leave to workers needing time off due to the birth or adoption of a child, to care for a child, spouse or parent with a serious illness, or to care for their own serious illness.

A study released by Harvard and McGill University researchers in February 2007 found that the United States lags far behind nearly all wealthy countries in family-oriented workplace policies. In fact, the U.S. is one of only five countries out of 173 in the survey - along with Lesotho, Liberia, Swaziland, and Papua New Guinea - that does not guarantee some form of paid maternity leave.

The University of Arkansas administration could provide paid family leave without federal legislation mandating it, but UA policies make it difficult for enough to take unpaid leave under the current Family and Medical Leave Act. That's why we need to act now and make our opinions known to someone who might care and be responsive to the circumstances confronting working families.

The Family Leave Insurance Act will allow working men and women the paid time off to balance their work responsibilities with their own and their families' medical needs. This bill will benefit both employers and their employees by establishing a fund through which employees, employers, and the federal government will share the cost of providing tiered compensation during times of family need.

AAUW has long supported flexible workplace policies to address the family responsibilities of employees. AAUW advocated for nearly a decade to pass the Family and Medical Leave Act, which was finally signed into law in 1993. While the FMLA has been an enormous gain for millions of workers, millions of Americans still do not have the option of taking time off to care for family members or themselves - either because they do not quality for FMLA leave, or even more likely, because they cannot afford to take unpaid leave. AAUW believes that creating work environments that help employees balance the responsibilities of work and family is good public policy - good for workers, good for families, and good for business.

AAUW wishes all of you who are mothers a very happy Mother's Day.

Take Action!
Urge our senators to cosponsor and support the Family Leave Insurance Act (S.1681) so that America's families don't have to choose between keeping a job and caring for themselves or a loved one. Click on the "Take Action" link in the upper right corner or copy and paste the following URL into your Internet browser. Then follow the instructions to send your message.

For more information, read AAUW's position paper on family friendly workplaces.

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