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Friday, December 13, 2013

The New Push for Paid Family Leave

Today's post was shared by Steven Greenhouse and comes from

Today, Senator Kirsten Gillibrand and Representative Rosa DeLauro introduced the FAMILY Act, a bill that would grant every employee in the country access to up to 12 weeks of paid family and medical leave. It’s a move that’s been long in coming. Really long.

For the past 20 years, workers who have needed time off to care for a seriously ill family member or a new baby have had to rely on the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA). With its 12 weeks of job-protected leave, the FMLA has helped people hang on to their jobs while dealing with the exigencies of life in more than 100 million instances. But, about 40 percent of workers aren’t covered by the law. And, because its leave is unpaid, countless workers have qualified for time off but been unable to afford to take it.

The FAMILY act, which would provide workers with two-thirds of their salary up to a cap for as much as 12 weeks, solves those problems. Polls show high levels of bipartisan support for the idea. And recent evidence from California, which has the oldest of three state paid leave programs, shows having a family leave insurance fund can financially stabilize workers, save businesses the expense of providing their own benefits, and even increase fathers’ participation in the care of their children.

Still, if the history of pushing for paid maternity leave is any guide, today marks the first day of what will likely be a long and ugly battle. Advocates first started pushing for paid time off...

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