As your constituent, I am writing to urge your support for a strong paid family and medical leave policy that lifts families, businesses, and the economy this session.
Moms, dads, grandparents, and kiddos cheered with their *outside* voices when paid family and medical leave (HB 1116) passed the House Appropriations Committee with funding for the first time in state history. This is huge, and thanks to the hard work of lawmakers like you. But we need your voice and your vote to keep paid family and medical leave moving all the way to the Governor's desk!
Right now, one in four working mothers must return to work just two weeks after giving birth because they don't have access to paid family and medical leave. Moms like Celia from Seattle who returned to work just days after nearly dying in childbirth. In fact, right now one-quarter of new moms go back to work just two weeks postpartum.
But paid family and medical leave isn't just for new parents. Family caregivers, two-thirds of whom are women, are being forced to choose between caring for their family and the paycheck that provides for them. Adriana, a mom of three from Olympia, dropped out of the workforce to care for her ailing mother, losing years of wages, retirement savings, and work experience.
Small businesses are also counting on the state of Washington to pass a strong paid family and medical leave policy. Tiffany, a restaurant and hotel owner in southwest Washington, wants to provide paid family leave for her employees, but cannot afford it on her own. A statewide program that pools the cost of coverage for Washington employers and employees is a win-win solution for small family businesses like hers.
In states like California, where paid family leave has been available for over 10 years, studies show that paid leave reduces families' reliance on public assistance programs, allows smaller businesses to compete with larger companies for the best talent, increases worker productivity, improves employee retention and lowers employers' turnover costs, and heightens American businesses’ competitiveness in a global economy.
Paid family and medical leave boosts our families, businesses, communities, and our economy. It's a win-win-win. As your constituent, I urge your strong support of paid family and medical leave this session.
Thank you for all that you do!