Paid family leave for Oklahoma
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What is Paid Family Leave?
Paid Family Leave helps families to remain financially secure when the unexpected happens, like a sudden health emergency. It also helps new parents, including new adoptive parents, to take time away from work and spend time with their children.
The Oklahoma Paid Family Leave Act (HB 1815 & SB 143) would provide up to 65% of an individual’s expected pay during one of these situations for up to six weeks during any given year. This would help to alleviate the financial burden caused by the loss of paychecks. This money would come from an account funded by employees, similar to state disability insurance, rather than producing a burden on employers.
Why is it needed?
Currently, only 13% of private industry workers in the United States have paid family leave (Acosta & Wiatrowski, 2017). In addition, around 16% of Oklahomans fall below the poverty line (U.S. Census Bureau); while Oklahoma has a very low cost-of-living, many families are still falling short (Arnold, 2015). Finally, women comprise around half of the workforce (National Partnership for Women and Families, 2018). This means that when women are forced to leave their jobs in order to care for new children, the workforce suffers. Families who are not financially secure become especially vulnerable during times of hardship, such as the illness of a family member.
Paid Family Leave is only one needed piece of the puzzle. However, it would help families to become more financially independent in their times of need, and reduce reliance on other state systems like temporary disability insurance and emergency services. It would also allow for families to build stronger connections by caring for one another rather than relying on expensive outside help.
How can we support Paid Family Leave?
By signing and sharing this petition, you can help more people find out about Paid Family Leave. The more people that bring this bill to the attention of the legislators, the more likely it is to pass.
In order to let your government know that you support Paid Family Leave, please look up and contact your local representative using this link: Find My Legislator, and ask them to support the Paid Family Leave Act for the benefit of Oklahoma communities.
Acosta, R. A. and Wiatrowski, W. J. (September, 2017). National Compensation Survey: Employee Benefits in the United States, March 2017 (Table 32). Retrieved from Bureau of Labor Statistics website: https://www.bls.gov/ncs/ebs/benefits/2017/ebbl0061.pdf
Arnold, B. (September, 2015). 2014 Oklahoma Cost of Living Report. Retrieved from Oklahoma State website: https://www.ok.gov/oesc_web/documents/lmicostofLivingreport2015.pdf
National partnership for women & families. (2018). Paid leave means a stronger Oklahoma. Retrieved from http://www.nationalpartnership.org/research-library/work-family/paid-leave/paid-leave-means-a-stronger-oklahoma.pdf
U.S. Census Bureau. (2017). Income & Poverty. [Chart]. Retrieved from: https://www.census.gov/quickfacts/OK
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