Advocate for Paid Family Leave
The United States is the only developed nation without paid maternity leave. Currently, paid leave policies are in the hands of our employers and states, and for those who live in places without policies or work for employers without any paid coverage, returning to work after childbirth likely happens far too soon.
All women deserve adequate paid leave to allow them to recover from childbirth and focus on the early days with a newborn without being faced with the demands of work and childcare only days or weeks after giving birth. According to PL+US, 1 in 4 mothers in the U.S. are forced to leave their babies within two weeks of giving birth. We're not okay with that. It's up to all of us to advocate for a change to our national policies, and we're arming you with two helpful resources to do to.
The amazing people at PL+US are working day and night to fight for a national paid family leave policy for all of us. They've provided a turnkey way that we can find and contact our reps and urge them to be champions for paid family leave.
Use the link below to access PL+US' easy to use outreach form (which finds your Rep for you!), or do your own outreach using their formatted letter below.
PL+US Action's Paid Family Leave Letter
The election saw an unprecedented level of participation from voters passionately engaging in the process of creating a future that delivers for the American people.
In many areas voters supported different visions for that future, but on paid family leave there is near unanimous agreement.
If your experience of talking to people across the country is anywhere close to ours, that might not be a surprise.
In the U.S. today, 1 in 4 mothers are forced to leave their babies within two weeks of giving birth. People caring for their parents are more likely to fall into poverty. And those who get cancer or have a heart attack are going into bankruptcy because they can’t work while they recover. Without paid family leave, 85 percent of people in the U.S. are a moment away from a family economic crisis.
Voters don’t just understand this theoretically: they experience it in their daily lives, and they want it changed.
94% of Democratic voters and 74% of Republican voters support paid parental leave. With Democratic control of the House and Republican control of the Senate, paid family leave is one of the few issues that could successfully deliver on the hopes and dreams of the American people.
Congress does not need to reinvent the wheel. States have proven that a public insurance program, where everyone pays in a little, works. And small and large businesses alike have demonstrated that when they adopt robust paid family leave policies, they reap positive benefits.
I invite you to become a champion for paid family leave. I want you to listen to the experiences of constituents like me and make moving paid family leave in the 116th Congress a real priority.
Alison Mezzanotte, a middle school teacher and mother of 2, wrote a compelling piece about her experience returning to work from maternity leave and the state of maternity leave in America. We were so moved by the article that we shared it with all of you, and were floored by the response we received. Her message inspired activism, and after receiving more messages than we can count from women wanting to what they could do to advocate for a national paid leave policy, we reached out to Alison for her perspective.
Before I share my letter that I sent to Governor Wolfe, Pennsylvania’s governor, I want to share that I am, by no means an expert on politics, nor am I an expert on the ins and outs of our elected officials. In fact, if you looked at my voter report card, you’d likely stop reading right now. That being said, as I teach my students, it is never too late to make a positive change in yourself. A few weeks ago, I sent a letter that resembles the one below to Governor Wolfe via his website. There was a contact page where I could fill out a very easy form. Most of our elected officials have sites where you can contact them directly online or if you’d rather, they have mailing addresses as well (I’ve used them in my classroom for my students to write his or her own letter of advocacy). After the Trump election, our neighbors got together for a post card writing party. My good friend printed out the addresses and had a few sample paragraphs that would help get us started in writing to our officials about issues that would affect the future of our country. This was one of my first experiences writing and attempting to make a change for the better of our society. I encourage you to do one or all of these in the coming weeks with California and Washington making great changes in their maternity leave policies. Maybe, when a few states make changes, Wolfe and the other Pennsylvania officials will make some positive strides towards action.
Dear Governor Wolfe:
Congratulations on your re-election in the recent gubernatorial campaign. I proudly walked to the polls with my eight-week-old son back in November and cast my ballot for you and your policies that support education funding in Pennsylvania. I’m writing to you today, however, to let you know that I would like to see a change in the maternity leave policies in Pennsylvania.
[Insert your own personal maternity leave story]
Right over the bridge in New Jersey, they passed laws allowing family leave protection (NJFLA) and an insurance for workers to pay into to cover them when and if they need to use family leave (FLI). Just this month, Washington state rolled out one of the best state-level family leave policies. When will it be Pennsylvania’s turn? We owe it to our children to have at least twelve weeks of maternity leave to bond with our future generation. Please put this on the forefront of your agenda. Our children depend on it.