Family Leave Is an Economic Necessity

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President Obama made no bones about it in his State of the Union address on Tuesday – paid family leave is an economic necessity. Modern parent dynamics put 71 percent of moms with children working outside the home, according the Bureau of Labor Statistics. And there’s a good chance dad is also working outside the home. The president’s call to action: seven days paid sick leave for workers.

I appreciate the president is keeping this topic on the top of his agenda. It’s one I think could easily slide off the docket, but paid time off to take care of sick kids, well that helps everybody, especially the mom or dad working hard to pay the bills who don’t have the extra money to pay a sitter when their child is sick or doesn’t have a family member nearby to call on for help. Paid leave also helps children, too. By allowing a parent to have that paid time to stay home, it may be the determining factor as to whether a sick child goes to school or not. And what kid should be shipped to school sick. Not only do they feel bad, but that’s how the pandemic of flu and viruses spreads throughout schools. 

President Obama also honed in on the cost of child care and how a month of child care can be the cost of a mortgage payment, something those of us who have used full-time daycare through the years know all too well. How to remedy this and still keep quality child care is tricky, because I believe child care workers should get paid more than they do, but that in turn will likely cost parents more. Obama’s proposal is a $3,000 tax break per child for child care. It’s a start. Obama also is lobbying for six-weeks paid maternity leave. Six weeks is a drop in the bucket, but again it’s a start!

Read more from his State of the Union address.