Paid Family Leave Act of 2018
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The Paid Family Leave Act (PFLA) allow up to six weeks of paid leave for employees who had a grandparent, parent, spouse, child, or grandchild with a serious illness, or for maternity in the case of birth, placement of a foster child, or adoption of a child for parent-child bonding. In Oklahoma, there is currently no paid family leave. According to the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) an employee may take up to twelve weeks of time off to care for a spouse, parents, grandparents, children, grandchildren, foster or adoptive children, but the time off is unpaid. The proposed bill would be temporary disability insurance for those in the workforce. It would be funded through employee contributions: taking a small part of each paycheck, much the same as taxes and social security, and setting it back. There would be no government funding needed for this act to be put into place. In the case that an individual would take Paid Family Leave (PFL), they would receive 65% of their regular earnings (Paid Family Leave Act of 2017).
This bill concerns social work because the majority of populations social workers are needed are of lower socioeconomic status. This means family members cannot afford to take off work to take care of family, causing high levels of stress within families. Studies show that, “Receiving care from family members has been shown to drastically improve health outcomes and recovery from illness, especially among children and the elderly” (Pearson-Merkowitz, & Longo, 2016). This policy impacts families positively in a way that, according to a study done in Australia, having paid family leave is associated with a lower rate of multiple health problems in children, including ear infections, asthma, and obesity. These results are stronger in lower socioeconomic families, measured by education and income. These children also showed health improvements when granted paid parental leave rights (Broadway, Kalb, Kuehnle, & Maeder, 2017). The proposed policy is needed because of the rise of women in the workforce. 60% of the workforce today is made up of women (Kilgour, 2011) and it is difficult to raise a family with only one working parent. There has also been a rise in the number of single-parent households in recent years. There are roughly 11 million single parent households in America, the majority of them headed by females (Bureau, 2016; Ebers & Spencer, 2018).
Sick leave will be necessary for all workers at some point in their lives, whether that be to recover from an illness or to care for a sick child or family member. Denying workers the right to paid sick leave creates big costs for all of us. The introduction of bills HB 1310 by Rep. Walke and HB 1536 by Rep. Dunnington are still active and eligible for consideration this year. Let's do our part by advocating for this positive change!
District 87 (D)
District 88 (D)
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