written by bendygirl at Thursday, June 19, 2008
I found this on a listserv in my neighborhood:
I just learned from the Moms Rising listserv that the U.S. House of Representatives is likely going to vote TODAY on the Federal Employees Paid Parental Leave Act (HR 5781).
tell your representatives to please Vote YES, and to applaud them for taking a first step toward building a more truly family-friendly nation:
The fact that this bill is getting voted on at all is part of a historic shift. Congress is now starting to take the issues of mothers and families seriously. Kate Kahan, Director of the Work and Family Program at the National Partnership for Women & Families in Washington, D.C. agrees, "We're seeing a significant increase in the number of family-friendly bills being proposed in Congress--so we expect to see more bills, covering more people, voted on in the near future. We need to do everything we can to let Congress know we support them being pro-active and pro-family. This bill is the first step."
First federal employees, then the rest of the people in our nation! Everyone needs paid family and medical leave and it's past time to start putting this policy in place. We know that paid family leave helps provide children with a healthy start and keep families out of poverty. Yet, the United States lags behind every developed country in the world in offering paid leave to new mothers.
When I had my kid, I was waiting tables. I received no paid leave and was out for more than 6 weeks. At the time, the company I worked for had a policy of not permitting women who'd just given birth back on their jobs before 6 weeks. I believe I was out for 8 weeks.
As a young family, 8 weeks of no salary was devestating. We considered bankruptcy and I spent more than a few days worrying not only about money, but how I would work out the health care bills and doctor's appointments my new baby would need. Ohio's Healthy Babies program covered our medical costs associated with the birth, covered my daughter's medical visits for the first 12 months AND, when I enrolled in WIC, we were able to have milk, cereal, cheese, beans, peanut butter and supplemental formula whenever we needed it. The thing is, I wouldn't have needed it if I'd had paid maternity leave. I might have been able to pay for the cost of health care, food items and also spent time with the new baby instead of constantly worrying about making the rent or paying my student loans.
Maternity leave should be paid leave. If we really believed in families and what's best for them as a nation, this wouldn't even be discussed now, it would have been done years ago.
So, here's hoping for a smooth acceptance of this leave program for Federal Government employees, it's the first step to ensuring it for everyone.