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Tell the 2016 Presidential Candidates that #PaidLeavePays

This petition had 27,254 supporters

When I was pregnant with my first son, he suffered an in utero stroke prior to delivery and required constant observation in the NICU for two weeks. During that time his doctors worried that he might never fully recover, that he might never be able to walk or read. Thirty weeks into my second pregnancy I started having contractions and was put on mandatory bed rest for two months. 

I am very blessed—both my sons are now healthy. I am also lucky that I could spend so much time with my oldest while he was in the NICU, and that I was able to get the two months of bed rest required to deliver my youngest—all without fearing that I would lose my job or be unable to pay my bills. Shockingly, I’m in the extreme minority of working moms in the United States.

Although 75 percent of women entering the workforce today will become pregnant at some point during their careers, only 12 percent of private-sector workers have access to any form of paid family leave. Moreover, because of financial strain, about 25 percent of American women currently return to work within 10 days of giving birth, even though maternity leaves shorter than 12 weeks are linked to increased postpartum depression and lower immunization rates for babies.

Yet the majority of the candidates currently running for president either have not announced a plan or do not support paid family leave. That is why I am calling on every current presidential candidate to release his or her official position on paid family leave; I also ask that a question about paid leave be included in upcoming presidential debates.

For a nation that prides itself on being a leader in the world, the United States is one of only three countries that does not offer some form of paid leave—the others being Suriname and Papua New Guinea. I think that is shameful, and I believe it is the right of all Americans to know where the candidates for the highest office in the land stand on this crucial issue. We need to bring awareness to this and encourage the federal government to make paid leave a priority.

Please join me in calling on all of the candidates to release their official position on paid leave—and let them know why you believe #PaidLeavePays. 

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Amy Keller Laird with Women's Health Magazine needs your help with “Tell the 2016 Presidential Candidates that #PaidLeavePays”. Join Amy Keller Laird and 27,253 supporters today.