The Family and Medical Leave Act now guarantees American working men and women twelve weeks leave to care for a newborn and the leave is unpaid.
The Project on Global Working Families at Harvard University’s School of Public Health compared our twelve week unpaid parental leave to other countries and found that:
· 163 countries offer mothers paid leave with the birth of a child;
· 45 countries give fathers paid parental leave;
· 28 countries provide women one year or more paid leave;
·8 countries provide three or more years of paid parental leave.
Of the countries that guarantee paid maternity or parental leave for women, the majority (99 out of 163) “provide 100 percent wage replacement for at least some portion of this leave.”
Only 5 countries provide their citizens with no paid parental leave: Australia, Lesotho, Papua New Guinea, Swaziland and the United States.
You can check out the report at http://www.hsph.harvard.edu/globalworkingfamilies/images/report.pdf.
Why do other countries fund paid family leave? Maybe they know how important it is to give their youngest citizens security. Go to www.developingchild.net to read the work done at Harvard University's Center on the Developing Child demonstrating the importance of early experiences on shaping a human being's brain. How well are we meeting our youngest children’s needs? Not well. The Carnegie Commission examined that question and you can find its report at http://carnegie.org/fileadmin/Media/Publications/PDF/Starting%20Points%20Meeting%20the%20Needs%20of%20Our%20Youngest%20Children.pdf We are not protecting our children from stress their first three years, and the neurological damage cannot be repaired.
Our children need and deserve security. Parents need and deserve support to provide that security. Send the petition below to our legislators to invest our taxes in paid family leave so that we can meet our own and our children’s needs. California and New Jersey have begun by enacting 6 weeks of paid family leave, and Arizona, Hawaii, Massachusetts, Missouri, New Hampshire, New York, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Texas, Vermont and Washington have paid leave legislation in process.
You can connect with a local organization working for paid family leave, such as www.momsrising and www.familyvaluesatwork.org and you can check out progress at http://www.nationalpartnership.org/site/DocServer/Paid_Leave_Tracking_2010_-_07_19_10__2_.pdf?docID=1921 Better Balance and National Partnership for Women & Families have developed model legislation that you can share with legislators: http://abetterbalance.org/cms/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=29&Itemid=49 Let’s fund and expand FMLA.