We talked awhile back about this parental leave bill being introduced on the Hill. And while seeing a bill introduced is a great thing, it definitely doesn't mean it's gonna go anywhere. But this time, mamas, there's motion. Serious motion. The U.S. House of Representatives votes this week - Thursday, 6.19.08 - on a bill to allow four weeks of full paid parental leave for federal employees. Wow. It's about time our government set an example in this area.
Speak Up - NOW! E-mail your Representative with one easy click (all possible with a sleeping babe on the lap!). Really want to make a statement??? Pick up the phone, mamas, it's worth the extra effort. To find your Representative's phone number, just enter your zip code here. And for those of you in the Portland metro area, you're likely represented by one of these folks:
If you're a little nervous to call, do it after hours and leave a message. It still counts! You could simply say: "Hi, I am a constituent in Oregon and strongly urge Representative ____ to vote YES on HR 5781, the Federal Employees Paid Leave Act of 2008. Thank you for supporting working families."
About the Bill. The Federal Employees Paid Leave Act of 2008 - aka H.R. 5781 - would allow federal employees four weeks of fully paid leave to care for a newborn or adopted child. Moms AND dads. Here's what Moms Rising has to say - and we heartily agree:
If we pass this bill for federal employees, then we'll be one step closer to paid family leave for everyone. The fact that this bill is getting voted on at all is part of a historic shift. Congress is now starting to take the issues of mothers and families seriously. Kate Kahan, Director of the Work and Family Program at the National Partnership for Women & Families in Washington, D.C. agrees, "We're seeing a significant increase in the number of family-friendly bills being proposed in Congress--so we expect to see more bills, covering more people, voted on in the near future. We need to do everything we can to let Congress know we support them being pro-active and pro-family. This bill is the first step."
First federal employees, then the rest of the people in our nation! Everyone needs paid family and medical leave and it's past time to start putting this policy in place. We know that paid family leave helps provide children with a healthy start and keep families out of poverty. Yet, the United States lags behind every developed country in the world in offering paid leave to new mothers.
It's time for the federal government to become a model employer by offering their workforce paid parental leave, and to pave the way for the rest of the nation to follow.