Editor's note: On January 15, 2015, President Obama will call upon Congress to pass the Healthy Families Act of 2014.
He's also encouraging states and cities to pass family-friendly workplace policies, saying that workplace leave is a family issue and an economic issue—not a partisan one. Here's what you need to know about exactly HOW broken family leave is in the United States right now.—Julie
In 2002, I had my first baby. Fortunately, I lived in California, which had just enacted its family leave fund. For the first weeks of maternity leave, I received a stipend, which really helped us as a young family starting out.
And it didn't cost taxpayers a cent. Under the California program, employees can choose to deduct a small amount from their paychecks each month, in a model similar to Social Security. It goes to fund a stipend you can use if you need to take extended leave to care for a family member, such a new baby or even a sick parent.
Unfortunately, in 2014, this is not the norm in the United States.
It's true: A mere 12% of U.S. workers have access to paid leave, either through state programs, or employers who have decided to be generous, and these workers are privileged..
PAID FAMILY LEAVE HAS BENEFITS WE CAN'T AFFORD TO LEAVE ON THE TABLE.
Paid leave helps families, children, and business.
OTHER COUNTRIES KNOW THIS ALREADY.
Of 185 nations studied, the U.S. and Papua New Guinea are the ONLY countries that do not offer some paid parental leave to families.
it's an employee-funded benefit like many others.
Source: Center for American ProgressTHE FAMILY MEDICAL LEAVE ACT ISN'T ENOUGH.
Though the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) does guarantee leave, it is not enough. There are too many restrictions on who is eligible, and it doesn't guarantee ANY paid leave.
NOT ELIGIBLE FOR UNPAID LEAVE AT ALL …
Far too many U.S. workers are ineligible for unpaid parental leave.
WHO HAS THE LEAST ACCESS TO FAMILY LEAVE AT WORK?
Certain groups have disproportionate access to paid leave.
VERY FEW STATES OFFER PAID LEAVE.
Only California, New Jersey, and Rhode Island currently guarantee workers access to paid family leave, with a handful of other states considering or researching the idea.
HOW YOU CAN TAKE ACTION
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