Get the Scoop!: The Business of Paid Family and Medical Leave

Seattle Ice Cream GraphicMomsRising and Molly Moon invite you to join other leaders for an important, bipartisan discussion on paid family and medical leave.

Join business, elected, and community leaders, along with local families, to talk about this important issue and how it impacts our businesses, families, and our communities. Enjoy Molly Moon’s homemade ice cream and appetizers!

Full details and RSVP here »

New Study Shows Strong Support for Paid Family & Medical Leave in Washington

A newly-released study shows strong public support for a new comprehensive paid family and medical leave program, and new cost estimates show it’s easy and affordable for workers and employers. In response, state legislators and community leaders are announcing their commitment to pursue paid family and medical leave legislation in the coming legislative session.

The study, funded by a U.S. Department of Labor grant to the State of Washington, shows:

  • Three-in-four Washington voters support a state paid family and medical leave program, with strong support across party identification, gender, age, and income.
  • Strong majorities of voters favor a comprehensive program which shares minimal costs for employees and employers.
  • Analysis shows paid family and medical leave to care for a new child, seriously ill family member, or a worker’s own serious health condition would cost a typical worker $2 or less each week, and that such a program would reduce the use of state assistance by new parents and save the state money.

“I’ve been listening to my constituents all summer and fall – there’s a growing sense of urgency,” said Rep. June Robinson (38th LD – Everett). “Our families are paying too high a price now. It’s time to move forward with paid family and medical leave. I’ll continue conversations with my colleagues and stakeholders over the next few weeks and have a bill ready the first week of session.”

“We had bipartisan support on paid family leave in the Senate a decade ago,” said Sen. Karen Keiser (33rd LD – Des Moines). “Since then, we’ve learned even more about how important those first months of a child’s life are to her whole future, and have been searching for smart ways to deal with caring for our aging population. Folks on both sides of the aisle care about these issues.”

With such strong support from state voters, the Washington Work and Family Coalition is planning to push for a new paid family and medical leave policy in Olympia this session.

“We’ve seen from experience in other states that these programs work to improve maternal and infant health, boost gender wage equity, and support thriving small businesses,” said Marilyn Watkins, policy director for the Economic Opportunity Institute and spokesperson for the Washington Work and Family Coalition. “We’ve also learned from the gaps in other state programs. Our coalition is energized, and we’ll have people from across the state showing up in Olympia demanding action.”

“Paid family leave is a win-win policy. That’s why MomsRising’s 40,000 Washington members strongly support advancing state legislation in 2017,” said Kristin Rowe-Finkbeiner, CEO/co-founder of and a member of the coalition. “Paid family and medical leave allows employees to take time off from work to care for a newborn baby or sick family member without having to forgo much-needed pay and it also helps businesses – especially those on Main Street – because they see more productive and loyal employees and save money on recruitment and training. That’s why we’re rolling up our sleeves to keep the momentum going forward because this policy boosts families, businesses, and the economy while also saving lives.”

The study also included interviews with 30 employers and estimates of potential reductions in TANF (Temporary Assistance for Needy Families) usage by new mothers due to paid family leave.

California, New Jersey, New York, and Rhode Island have established programs that provide wage replacement for 26 to 52 weeks for the worker’s own serious health condition, including pregnancy and childbirth-related disability, and from 4 to 12 additional weeks of paid family leave to care for a newborn or newly placed child or for a seriously ill family member. The programs are typically funded through payroll premiums. A number of other states are considering establishing similar programs.

A summary of the study’s findings is available here.

Full study results are available here.

Washington joins growing list of states with paid sick and safe leave for all — and a better minimum wage!

raise-up-washington-logoWashington has joined the growing number of states to adopt paid sick and safe leave for all workers with approval of Initiative 1433.

Starting in January 2018, everyone working in Washington will be assured at least 1 hour of paid sick leave for every 40 hours worked. An estimated one million workers in the state do not have any paid sick leave now, and others only very limited access. Four Washington cities have previously passed paid sick leave ordinances, Seattle, SeaTac, Tacoma, and Spokane. In those localities, more generous provisions will continue to prevail, including higher accrual levels in large companies in Seattle

Washington’s minimum wage will go to $11.00 on January 1, 2017, rising in three additional steps to $13.50 in 2020. Thereafter, it will rise with inflation as is currently the case. Without the initiative, the state minimum wage would only have risen 6 cents to $9.53 in 2017, not enough to cover basic expenses in any part of the state.

Paid sick leave can be used for health needs of the worker or a family member, or to deal with legal and safety needs arising from domestic violence, sexual assault, or stalking. Up to 40 hours can be carried over from year to year, with no other annual cap on annual usage.

The Raise Up Washington Coalition of labor, faith, and community organizations wrote the initiative, collected signatures to qualify for the ballot, and conducted a broad grassroots campaign to assure passage of the initiative.

Original: Economic Opportunity Institute »

Innovative states protecting domestic violence survivors using paid “safe days” – Washington can be next!

value-of-paid-safe-daysKami Reep of Sonoma County, California was let go from work twice last year—not because she wasn’t able to perform her duties as a bookkeeper or because she did her job poorly, but because she needed to take time off when her ex-husband and abuser took two of their three young children from an afterschool program and fled the state.

Reep took three days off from work without pay when her children first went missing. Before she returned to the office, Reep was notified by email that she was being fired because of the situation with her ex-husband and the “added stress.”

“I felt like no one else would hire me,” Reep says.

On Election Day, voters in Washington and Arizona will have the option of supporting ballot initiatives that would allow victims of domestic violence to take paid time off from work, too. If Washington’s I-1433 and Arizona’s Prop 206 passes, domestic violence survivors in those states “wouldn’t have to miss a paycheck or make a decision between going to court or going to work, or fear losing their jobs,” says Kellie MacDonald-Evoy, public policy advocate for the Arizona Coalition to End Sexual and Domestic Violence. The Coalition estimates that about 804,000 women and 454,000 men in Arizona will experience domestic violence in their lifetime.

California is among five states (the others are Connecticut, Massachusetts, Oregon, and Vermont) and a dozen localities (including Chicago, Santa Monica, Minneapolis, Los Angeles, Philadelphia, and Washington, DC) that have already passed “safe time” laws. This chart created by A Better Balance, a national legal advocacy organization that advocates for family-friendly laws and workplace policies, compares state and local laws offering paid sick and safe time.

Read more: Quartz »

You Decide: Will Washington be next to pass paid sick leave?

voteNow YOU get to make the decisions! After all the ads and negativity of this campaign season, now is your chance to vote for healthier families and stronger communities.

Make Washington the 6th state to pass paid sick days: YES on Initiative 1433

Initiative 1433 assures every worker in Washington has the opportunity to earn at least 1 hour of paid sick leave for every 40 hours they work — 6 or 7 days a year if they work full time. It would also raise the state minimum wage in four steps to $13.50 in 2020.

Why It Matters:

  • 1 million people working in Washington don’t get a single day of paid sick leave now. Many of them work in lower wage jobs in restaurants, retail, and caregiving. That means when they have the flu, their child is sick, or their elderly parent has to go to the doctor, they make a choice – sacrifice family and public health or lose that day’s pay.
  • The current minimum wage of $9.47 isn’t enough to cover the basics for even a single person in communities across our state. Over 90% of the lowest wage workers are adults, many with families to support. A higher minimum wage boosts struggling families, and when workers spend more, that helps local businesses and our whole economy.

Visit Raise Up Washington to learn more about Initiative 1433.

Your votes for state legislators will decide progress on Paid Family Leave, Equal Pay, and more! 

It’s a long ballot — don’t give up! Your choice for state legislators will matter on our two BIG priorities for the 2017-18 legislature: Equal Pay and Paid Family and Medical Leave.

Why It Matters:

  • Let’s end the wage gap! Fair pay and equal career opportunities for women benefit workers families and businesses too — and help build a stronger future for communities all across Washington.
  • In states that already have paid family and medical leave programs, new babies and moms are healthier, women earn more a year following childbirth, and new dads take more time with a new baby. Workers are also able to cope with their own health crisis or a seriously ill family member without falling into a financial crisis.

Check out your candidates’ positions on paid family and medical leave here

Latina Equal Pay Day: Not a day to celebrate

gabriela-headshotFor the past six years of my life I’ve dedicated my professional life to women’s equity issues. I was an instrumental part of a team that helped develop and eventually pass a paid sick days ordinance in Seattle in 2011. Currently, it’s been all about getting a paid family and medical leave bill passed at the state level.

While having paid sick days and paid family & medical leave are crucial to the economic security of women and their families, having these two benefits is not enough—especially if you are Latina like me. Wages matter and, in the case of Latinas, we continue to have a much wider gender wage gap than white women or even African American women.

According to the Economic Opportunity Institute, “Washington women who worked full-time in 2014 were paid $13,000 less than men, diminishing family budgets and undercutting community business prosperity. Women of color face especially large wage disparities. Median pay for White women in Washington is 74% of White men’s, for Black women 68%, and Latinas 48%.

“The wage gap persists at all education levels and across occupations. More women than men between the ages of 25 and 45 hold four-year college degrees in Washington, but women need those degrees to make the same amount of income as men with less formal schooling.”

latinaequalpayday-equal-pay-for-equal-workIt’s disheartening. According to other statistics, in Washington State it would take a Latina about three years to catch up to what a white man makes. This means that in 2019, I’ll be making what a white man makes in today’s wages. Yay.

Today is Latina Equal Pay Day, which marks the day that Latina workers finally catch up to what white, non-Hispanic male workers made last year. Yes, you read that right. Nationally, it takes Latinas 22 months to match a white male’s earnings from the prior year, according to recent United States Census data.

Economic security for women means having no wage gap, access to paid sick days, and paid family and medical leave. Show your support by voting yes on I-1433, which will lower the wage gap disparitiesacross the board and ensure that all workers in Washington get paid sick days.

If we can get this done in 2016, then maybe in 2017 we can get paid family and medical leave passed. Just imagine!

By Gabriela Quintana, Economic Opportunity Institute

Original: Legal Voice »