Paid Leave: Better Luck Next Time, Sincerely Olympia Snowe

Letter from Olympia SnoweRemember that time I got upset about parental (maternity) leave? Well, I did actually write to my senators and try to get them to do something about it.

I received this letter (to the left) back from Senator Olympia Snowe, which made me feel like kind of a big deal. (Yes, I know it’s just a form letter.)

Don’t get too excited though…You probably can’t read the fine print, so I’ll summarize it for you: Don’t call us, we’ll call you.

The important item of note in her reply to me was the following: “I noted your support for the funding of Family and Medical Leave Insurance programs, specifically the State Paid Leave Fund, under the President’s budget for the Fiscal Year (FY) 2013.  As you know, the proposed budget of $5 million would establish a State Paid Leave Fund within the Department of Labor (DOL) that would provide competitive grants to help cover start-up costs for States that choose to launch paid-leave programs.  The budget also includes support to allow the DOL to explore ways to improve the collection of data related to intersections of work and family responsibilities.  On June 14, 2012, the Senate Committee on Appropriations approved the FY13 Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies Appropriations bill by a vote of 16-14.  However, due to budget constraints, the committee collectively concluded that the creation of a State Paid Leave Fund in the next fiscal year was not recommendable.

I guess there are two things to take from this. First, that it sucks. And second, at least it is on the table in Congress to do SOMETHING. Maybe if we can get enough people to speak up and say it’s a problem, there will be a little more urgency around the issue.

Do you want to show your support for paid leave? Click here to write your Senator. It takes 30 seconds, literally.

 

 

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