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Wisconsin State Journal

May 13, 2013

This Mothers’ Day, give Wisconsin moms what we really need — the opportunity to earn paid time off so we can stay home to care for a sick child without losing income or risking our jobs.

My daughter was diagnosed with cancer at age 15 months. I needed to take time away from work to care for her, and I was fortunate to qualify to take it under the Wisconsin Family Medical Leave Act. Our family thrived because I could use accrued vacation time and  family leave to keep my job secure.

However, state FMLA doesn’t cover the entire work force and is unpaid time off. That’s why our elected leaders should protect FMLA and consider expanding the program into paid leave insurance.

Mothers should never be forced to abandon their sick child to keep their job, nor be denied the opportunity to substitute earned paid time off when caring for their sick family. When moms do better, our communities do better, too.

Make Mother’s Day about more than chocolates and flowers. Protect and expand Wisconsin’s FMLA. Being able to spend Mother’s Day with my healthy 8-year-old daughter, seven years past her cancer treatment, gives the day new meaning.