Let’s get right into this 💩 ...did you know the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development studied paid maternity leave for 36 developed nations and five additional European Union countries, and Costa Rica and they found that on average across these countries, mothers were entitled to 51 weeks of paid leave after child birth? Can you imagine?? Almost an entire year to nurture your baby while still getting paid. What a dream!! But not here in the US. Nope. The United States was the only country in the study with no national law to provide that benefit.
Today, 1 in 3 workers in the US don’t have a single day of paid leave to give birth and care for a newborn – or care for their loved ones. That’s 113 million people, overwhelmingly women, communities of color, and low-wage working families.
On top of being the only industrialized country that does not have a paid leave program in place – even the unpaid leave is only for 12 weeks, which is the smallest amount of time offered compared to the same countries.
C’mon, US!! Why are we sooooooo far behind in supporting parents and families??
It’s not because people don’t want it. Federal paid leave is overwhelmingly popular — so popular, in fact, that more than 8 in 10 Americans support creating a national paid leave policy.
And there’s very good reason to support it beyond just basic human kindness and understanding. For example, paid parental leave to welcome a new child has been shown to provide benefits to employers, families, and children, including decreasing infant mortality, improving a newborn’s health and well-being and brain development, increasing the likelihood that new parents will return to work, and decreasing turnover costs.
The paid leave proposal in the American Families Plan can change that. This is the greatest opportunity to win federal paid leave in decades, and passage of this policy will change the way we live, work and care for our families for generations to come.
The American Families Plan, a landmark economic recovery package recently announced by President Biden, includes a proposal for a national paid family and medical leave program that provides up to 12 weeks of parental, caregiving and personal medical leave to all working people. This is a historic moment as no sitting President has ever introduced a national paid leave policy in the US.
With broad, bi-partisan support from 84% of Americans, Congress has the chance to make sure that nobody in the U.S. has to choose between taking care of their health or their family, and keeping their paycheck. But, it will take all of us speaking out loudly to make it happen.
As Congress considers laws to help working families recover from the pandemic, we have a huge opportunity to pass paid leave for all. That’s why we’ve teamed up with Paid Leave for the United States (PL+US), a nonprofit working to win a national paid family and medical leave program in the US. Hello Bello signed onto a letter from the business community asking Congress to pass paid leave. Will you join us?
Our friends at PL+US make it easy to take action - just type in your zip code, and they’ll connect you with your Member of Congress and a sample note about paid leave, which you can personalize with your own message.
The COVID-19 pandemic shined a light on the dire need for paid leave, but the caregiving crisis is not new. Your voice can help make a difference.
UPDATE: Thank you to the 20,000+ people in our community who sent emails to Congress last year! While the bill didn't pass, we're still watching for opportunities to support newly proposed legislation.
Sadly, PL+US closed its doors in the summer of 2022, but that doesn't mean that you can't refer to their website for more information about the issue. And if you're ready to email your members of Congress, here's a link to find them using your zip code. And here's sample copy that you can copy and paste and edit if you wish.
Email subject line: I’m writing because I want Congress to pass permanent and comprehensive paid leave policy
Dear [elected official],
I’m writing to ask you to urge Congressional leaders to pass paid family and medical leave. The urgent need for a national paid leave policy has never been more clear: the pandemic has created unprecedented economic, health, and safety challenges for workers, families and for businesses. No one should have to choose between their health and their job.
For our economic recovery, resilience, and growth, we must invest in our country’s families. Comprehensive paid family and medical leave will improve the lives of every working person in the U.S.—from new parents and those caring for elderly relatives to those recuperating from serious illness. Paid leave is critical to families managing caregiving, health and childcare responsibilities, which is why it is supported by more than 65% of people regardless of party.
I am urging you to prioritize and pass comprehensive paid family and medical leave for everyone in the United States. Our country has a caregiving crisis and working families need support so that everyone can be there for their families in the moments that matter most, whether welcoming a new baby, caring for an aging relative or family member with cancer or other serious illness, or time to treat one’s own serious medical condition. Congress must meet this moment to provide for the long term health and economic security of all everyday families.