Urging Congress to Get with the (Paid) Leave Program

Last September 1,000 Days launched a petition on Facebook urging Congress to get with the (paid) leave program. And Americans responded in record breaking numbers!

On Thursday, February 4, 1,000 Days and our friends at the National Partnership for Women & Families had the honor of delivering over 230,000 petition signatures from all 50 states to Congress.

In the United States, too many parents are forced to choose between the jobs that they need and the families that they love.

The U.S. is the only industrialized country without a national paid leave policy, so perhaps it’s not surprising that we’re also a country with low breastfeeding rates and high infant mortality rates. There is a strong correlation between access to paid leave and the length of time a mother is able to successfully breastfeed, the best source of nourishment and immunity for babies. In addition, paid family leave has shown to reduce infant mortality by as much as 20 percent. Yet less than half of new moms in the U.S. have access to paid leave. In fact, one in four women are going back to work just TWO weeks after giving birth!

This is a real life issue for many Americans—many of whom shared their personal experience around paid leave with us. Stories of moms who are forced to leave their babies while still in the NICU, or women who must return to work just days after giving birth despite their bodies not having recovered, or dads who must choose between caring for their wives and newborn babies or their jobs—all simply because the U.S. does not have a paid family leave program.

Let’s keep building  MOMentum for paid leave

In a recent poll by the National Partnership for Women & Families, 79 percent of Americans say they support paid family leave. Yet, the Family And Medical Insurance Leave Act (FAMILY Act) is stalled in Congress. That’s why 1,000 Days and the National Partnership made sure that American’s voices were heard throughout the halls of Congress.

The momentum for paid family leave is growing—three states have paid family leave policies, companies like Amazon and Facebook are ramping up their policies, and presidential candidates are talking about the issue. But we need to keep up the fight in 2016 and beyond!