Family Comes First

Paid leave is good for our kids and good for our country. By Teresa Machado
Family Comes First

Family comes first.

For parents, this idea is unquestionable. As individuals, we place enormous value on our family relationships. Unfortunately, as a country we fail to honor family values the way we should.

In many other countries, when a new baby comes along or a family member suddenly falls seriously ill, people can take paid leave to be caregivers. In the U.S., too many Americans are forced to choose between their care-giving responsibilities and their paychecks, often at a time when money is needed most. This is bad for kids and bad for our country.

Kids Action and our advocate members have made paid family leave at the state and federal levels a top priority because it's good for all kids and for their parents and guardians. We are supporting U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand and U.S. Representative Rosa DeLauro's Family Act, we urged New York leaders to agree on legislation guaranteeing job-protected paid family leave for all employees in the state, and we have condemned the petty politics that threatened paid leave expansion in California.

This summer, we were encouraged to hear Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton speak in favor of some version of paid leave, even though their visions of it were quite different. But the fact remains, only four states offer some type of paid family and medical leave to all workers, and that has to change.

There are many reasons America needs paid family leave for all working people, but first and foremost for us is that it’s good for children:

  • The first few months of newborns' lives are crucial to their emotional and cognitive development, and paid leave allows parents of a newborn or newly adopted child to have critical bonding time.
  • Sick children recover faster and are less likely to suffer from illness in the future when parents can take leave.
  • Newborns are more likely to receive regular pediatric checkups and immunizations when parents can take leave.
  • Mothers who take leave are more likely to breastfeed and to continue breastfeeding for approximately twice as long as those who do not.
  • Men who take two or more weeks off after the birth of a child are more involved than fathers who do not take any leave.

As we look toward 2017 and beyond, we urge our elected representatives at the state and federal levels to find common ground on an issue that the vast majority of both parties in America support: paid leave that ensures all working people are able to put their families first.

Voice your support for paid leave for all families by sending a message to your representative today!

About Teresa Machado

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Teresa Machado is Common Sense Kids Action’s Policy Associate for California. She joined Kids Action in 2016 from Early Edge California in Oakland, CA, where she worked to advance policy to improve early education... Read more

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