AFT Resolution


WHEREAS, a national paid leave program would allow people to receive a portion of their pay when they need time away from their jobs for family or medical reasons, resulting in significant benefits for their families, businesses and our economy (National Partnership for Women & Families, “Family and Medical Insurance Leave (FAMILY) Act,”; and

WHEREAS, on average, only 15 percent of workers in the United States have access to paid family leave through their employers, and fewer than 40 percent have access to personal medical leave through employer-provided short-term disability insurance (NPWF, “Paid Leave,”; and

WHEREAS, the only federal policy that ensures access to time off to care for others is the Family Medical Leave Act, passed in 1993, which guarantees eligible workers access to unpaid leave for up to 12 weeks in a 12-month period (Jacob Alex Klerman, Kelly Daley, and Alyssa Pozniak, Family and Medical Leave in 2012, report prepared for the U.S. Department of Labor, revised 2014); and

WHEREAS, the lost wages from lack of access to paid time off costs the American economy $20.6 billion per year (Sarah Jane Glynn and Danielle Corley, “The Cost of Work-Family Policy Inaction: Quantifying the Costs Families Currently Face as a Result of Lacking U.S. Work-Family Policies,” Center for American Progress, 2016); and

WHEREAS, the burden of unpaid leave falls heavily on working women, since 59 percent of working women make healthcare decisions for someone else, and 94 percent of working mothers make healthcare decisions for someone else, resulting in the need to take unpaid leave (“94% of Working Mothers Make Healthcare Decisions for Others,” Klick Wire, May 27, 2015,…); and

WHEREAS, in Sweden, new parents are allowed 480 days of leave at 80 percent of their normal pay on top of 18 weeks of leave reserved for mothers; fathers receive 90 paid paternity days (Chris Weller, “These 10 Countries Have the Best Parental Leave Policies in the World,” Business Insider, August 22, 2016,…); and

WHEREAS, 79 percent of all education and healthcare workers (80.7 percent and 89.4 percent female, respectively) do not get paid leave yet work in the most prevalent child bearing years (25-45 years old), forcing many of these women to borrow paid sick leave or face financial hardship (Drew DeSilver, “Access to Paid Family Leave Varies Widely Across Employers, Industries,” Pew Research Center, March 23, 2017, access-to-paid-family-leave-varies-widely-across-employers-industries/; and U.S. Department of Labor, “25 Most Common Occupations for Full-Time by Sex and Shares of Employment,”…); and

WHEREAS, a child, especially a newborn, is best cared for by his or her parent, and leaves of six weeks or less lead to depression and stress for parent and newborn (Audrey Goodson Kingo, “20 Indisputable Reasons Why Paid Family Leave Is Good for Babies, Parents, Companies and Everyone Else,” Working Mother, December 4, 2017,…):

RESOLVED, that the American Federation of Teachers will press for the creation of paid family leave apart from sick leave programs as part of the recognized employee benefits bargained with employers, especially in occupations dominated by women; and

RESOLVED, that the AFT will update contract language to reflect this need for paid parental leave; and

RESOLVED, that the AFT will join with other groups, such as the Center for American Progress, the Institute for Women’s Policy Research and the National Partnership for Women and Families, to fight for the passage of paid leave legislation to improve the lives of all working families.