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AFT Resolutions

TRANSFORMING AND MODERNIZING FAMILY LEAVE INTO LEAVE WITH PAY

WHEREAS, the United States trails the rest of the world in paid family leave; and

WHEREAS, family medical leave acts at the state and national levels were breakthroughs when adopted but did not go far enough. The 12 weeks provided are unpaid, although some state statutes allow use of paid sick leave and vacation pay during the leave, all making such leave not really a financial option; and

WHEREAS, a sampling of other countries shows that France provides 16 to 26 weeks at full pay; Finland provides 105 workdays at 80 percent pay; Mexico provides 12 weeks at full pay, with collective bargaining adding additional paid weeks in some cases; Tanzania provides 12 weeks of paid leave at full pay; Denmark provides 18 weeks maternity leave with an additional 10 weeks that can be taken by either parent; and

WHEREAS, recent studies show the difficulty of "tag-team" care between spouses and partners for children and families with more than 46 percent of women, according to a recent AFL-CIO study, married or living with someone reporting that they must work different schedules; and

WHEREAS, another AFL-CIO survey revealed that 83 percent of working women consider paid family leave a very important issue; while a U.S. Department of Labor study found 87 percent of families with young children and 84 percent of adults favor using expanded disability benefits to provide for paid family leave; and

WHEREAS, a Penn State study found that even those workers who may never need the benefits are willing to contribute to making such benefits available for all; and

WHEREAS, all unionists, family oriented and concerned citizens should make paid family leave for parents to use after giving birth to a child or adoption and fight hard for commonsense social policies that include strong provisions for caring for our children and families; and

WHEREAS, unions should lead the way in providing a model for balancing demands of our jobs and the needs of our families; and

WHEREAS, the United States should be brought into at least the 20th century of social policies as a beginning for developing appropriate 21st century policies for such care:

RESOLVED, that the AFT should make this effort a legislative priority and support development of appropriate legislation for paid family medical leave and introduce such legislation if necessary.


(2002)