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Families and the Workplace
As women, especially those with children, become a larger part of the workforce, it is increasingly necessary for there to be legal protections for parental and sick leave, as well as employer assurances to provide quality childcare. The UAW has long been on the forefront of this issue, and will continue to advocate for progressive legislative action to support working families.
Family and Medical Leave
In recent years, women have contributed an increasing amount to their families’ incomes. While the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) has made great strides in allowing workers to take up to 12 weeks of unpaid time to care for a newborn, newly adopted child, or a seriously ill family member, more must be done to expand the law.
Over 50 million working Americans have taken advantage of FMLA provisions since the law was enacted in 1993. But many Americans cannot afford to take unpaid leave from work. For this reason, the UAW has continually urged for the FMLA to be strengthened to include some form of wage replacement to ensure that more workers can take leave during times of family need.
The UAW will continue to push to expand the FMLA to cover smaller businesses and to expand coverage by allowing workers to take leave for elder care needs; parents to take 24 hours of leave each year to participate in their children’s academic activities at school; and for leave to be taken to care for individuals who reside in their home for six months or more. The UAW will also continue to address these issues at the bargaining table.
Many low-income parents have serious difficulties in obtaining the care that they want and need for their children. In many cases, quality childcare and preschool and after-school care are not affordable or are simply not available. Often, parents in low-wage jobs pay as much as half of their weekly paycheck to put their children in the best possible childcare setting. Some parents find themselves settling for care that they know is not the most supportive arrangement, simply because they cannot afford better options. Childcare assistance is vital to these parents to help them to continue working. For these reasons, the UAW strongly supports increased federal funding for childcare and preschool and after-school programs.
Check out this recent report published by Human Rights Watch which outlines the negative impact that unpaid sick and parental leave has had on American families. The report found scarce or no paid sick or paternal leave contributed to delayed immunizations among children, postpartum depression, and increased debt and reliance on public assistance.