Studies have found that paid parental leave can reduce infant mortality, increase childhood vaccination rates, reduce depression rates in mothers even decades after giving birth, and increase the engagement of fathers in child-rearing. Despite the clear benefits, the United States is the only rich, industrialized nation that provides no paid parental leave of any kind. The US also provides no support for people who must leave work to care for an elderly parent, an increasingly common phenomenon. Currently, only 21% of workers have access to paid family leave through their employers.
To remedy that, Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) and Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-CT) have introduced the Family and Medical Insurance Leave (FAMILY) Act (S. 248/H.R. 804). The Family Act would provide workers with up to 12 weeks of paid leave in the event of a serious illness or to care for an ill child, spouse, domestic partner, or parent. It would also provide the same benefit for the birth or adoption of a child. The benefit would equal about two-thirds of the employees wages, with a minimum payment of $580 per month and a maximum payment of $4000 per month.
This long-overdue legislation would provide relief not only for new parents but also for the thousands of people who care for adult family members. Demand your representatives support the FAMILY Act.