An evangelical advocacy organization is supporting a push in Congress to ensure working families — in the government and private sector — are ensured paid parental and family leave as hope builds that bipartisan legislation will be passed this election year.
While the United States remains the only industrialized country to not guarantee workers paid family leave, there is optimism that 2020 could be the year that changes.
Only eight states and the District have paid family leave programs on their books.
But the increasingly bipartisan paid family leave movement got a small victory last year with the passing of a national defense spending bill that for the first time guaranteed most federal workers up to 12 weeks of paid parental leave for the birth, adoption or fostering of a child.
Since the Federal Employee Paid Leave Act does not cover all federal employees or nonfederal workers and also doesn’t provide other types of family leave such as when a family member is sick, advocates feel that improvements can be made.
While Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer introduced a bill to extend the FEPLA benefits to all federal workers, there are three other pieces of legislation looking to further guarantee paid parental leave for all other Americans.
The Center for Public Justice, a Christian nonpartisan research and civic education organization, released a policy brief examining each bill’s different approaches. All three proposals accommodate workers that don’t hold “full-time salaried jobs” that traditionally enjoy parental leave benefits in the private market.
“All three legislative proposals … help move the United States toward a universal system of paid family leave,” reads the brief written by Rachel Anderson, the director of CPJ’s Families Valued initiative.
“Without a system of paid family leave, many Americans feel pressure to work rather than care for a loved one. Research on paid family leave in other countries and in early-adopter states in the U.S. shows a correlation between paid parental leave and improvements in child health.”
Each of the bills creates a path to paid leave for workers whose employers do not provide or cannot afford the benefit. While two of the bills only provide parental leave, the most-expansive of the options ensures leave for births, adoptions, fostering, medical reasons and family caregiving.
With all three bills providing parental leave, CPJ argues that paid parental leave will ensure that children receive immunizations, preventative medical care as well as ensure mothers have time to breastfeed for longer durations.
The most expansive paid family leave proposal is the Family and Medical Insurance Leave Act (FAMILY Act),…