Pennsylvania Federation Women’s Caucus Position Statement on Paid Parental Leave
As our first formal project as a Women’s Caucus we have chosen to focus our energies on organizing and educating within our Union to promote an understanding of the need for paid parental leave for all eligible members.
A paid parental leave policy shows recognition of the importance of supporting a work/life balance and provides the opportunity for parents to bond with their new child. It would give parents time to adjust to the demands of a new family without impacting on the quality of their work. Family-friendly policies are essential to cultivating an atmosphere where employees can thrive professionally without sacrificing family obligations. Being successful at work and at home should not be a trade off. Paid parental leave offers employees the time they need to build a healthy family and has been shown to subsequently contribute to better work performance.
It is our position that paid parental leave should be available to all eligible members of our organization in connection with the birth of a member’s child, or the placement of an adopted child within a member’s home.
We believe that parental leave is a human right and ideally there should exist federal legislation that provides this right to all American citizens. However, the United States is one of the only developed countries in the world that has no paid parental leave law in place. The closest thing we have is the Family Medical Leave Act which allows eligible employees to take up to 12 weeks unpaid leave for the arrival of a child, but because of the criteria for eligibility only 60% of our work force qualifies for FMLA protections and the majority of people cannot afford to take leave without pay. Most Americans have to rely on their employers’ willingness to adopt a parental leave policy for its employees to have access to paid parental leave. At a unionized work place workers can fight for protection under their collective bargaining agreement that provides paid parental leave for all members. Unions have attempted to address the limitations of FMLA and the absence of paid leave in the workplace by bargaining for paid family leave. Many unions have been successful in this pursuit.
Since we live in the only industrialized country in the world, one of only 8 countries worldwide, that does not provide its citizens with paid parental leave when a child is born or adopted into their family, we will look to our Union to correct this injustice for the brothers and sisters of our organization.
IT IS OUR OBJECTIVE TO ENCOURAGE OUR UNION LEADERSHIP TO MAKE PAID PARENTAL LEAVE A DEMAND IN THE NEXT ROUND OF UNION NEGOTIATIONS.