source: Department of Labor: Paid FMLA
The Need for Paid Leave:
- Only 12 percent of U.S. private sector workers have access to paid family leave through their employer.
- Too many workers still cannot afford to take unpaid leave because of the loss of income it entails, or have to cut their leave short because of financial or workplace pressures.
- Millions of workers have care giving responsibilities for both young children and aging parents.
The Benefits of Paid Leave:
- Paid maternity leave can increase female labor force participation by making it easier for women to stay in the workforce after giving birth, which contributes to economic growth. When parents are better supported at work through paid family and medical leave, they are also less likely to rely on public assistance benefits.
- Paid leave leads to better outcomes for parents and children. Maternity leave improves child health outcomes, including increased birthweight, decreased premature births and decreased infant mortality. Paid leave encourages men to take paternity leave and serve as caregivers, which has a number of positive effects for families.
- Paid maternity leave increases worker retention and reduces turnover, saving businesses significant costs associated with replacing employees. After California and New Jersey enacted paid family leave benefits, most businesses in those states reported positive or neutral experiences and few negative effects.
The Obama Administration is committed to Expanding Access to Paid Leave:
- The President’s 2016 budget will include more than $2 billion in new funds to encourage States to develop paid family and medical leave programs.
- In 2015, the Department of Labor will award $1 million for a grant program to help States, municipalities and federally recognized tribes conduct feasibility studies for paid leave programs. This investment is in addition to the $500,000 in grants the Department’s Women’s Bureau awarded in 2014 to three States and the District of Columbia. The Department of Labor is investing in research and analysis that will help State and local policy makers design the best possible paid leave programs.
Create a Family Leave Insurance program similar to Washington D.C.
- Apply for federal grants to create a Paid Family Leave program for residents living within Houston and/or Harris County
- The program could be managed by the City of Houston, Harris County or a Non-profit
- How to finance Family Leave Insurance:
- Benefits could include 1 month of paid leave with 60% of pay.
- The benefit could be used for: the birth or adoption of a child; caring for a spouse, child, or parent with a serious health condition; a serious health condition that makes the employee unable to perform the essential functions of his or her job; or a qualifying circumstance related to a spouse, child, or parent on covered active duty or call to covered active duty status.
- Paid Family Leave could apply to both part time and full time employees
- Self-employed residents of Houston and/or Harris County will be required to opt in
- The Family Leave Insurance would be job protected