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What was available to me should not be a privilege

What was available to me should not be a privilege

January 14, 2015

Dear Mr. President,

I am writing this letter in support of Paid Family Leave. While the United States is a country that purports to love its children and its seniors, the reality is to the contrary. Approval of the Paid Family Leave could not remedy the gravity of the current situation, it would be a step towards making America a more family friendly country.

In a recent report by the Center for Economic and Policy Research (CEPR) which reviews the family leave policies in 21 ‘rich’ countries, including the United States, we ranked 20 of out 21 with respect to protected job leave with the birth of a child and are only one of two with no guarantee of paid leave. How can a country so steeped in riches not allow sufficient support and provision for the vulnerable among us?

I would like to share a bit of why the issue is a pressing concern for me. I have been fortunate enough to be employed by a governmental agency for the bulk of my working career. When my mom became ill and needed constant attention, I was able to be released from my employment, with the support of fellow workers, my supervisors, and the protections granted to me by the Family Medical Leave Act. Had I not been released for a period of paid time, I would have had to lose my job because with me family comes first and I know in my heart no one can provide for my mom better than I myself can. I am grateful to have been able to be with my mother at her time of need (she is still with us now), but I feel strongly that what was available to me should not be a privilege, but a right that should be available to every working person.

As a member of the board for the Miami-Dade County Commission for Women, I am made aware of issues which face women as they struggle to make their lives productive in what has been a hostile economy for so many years. While the economic climate is improving, as with all things, the improvement is experienced last by those who need it most. Women, children, the elderly, and poor families could greatly benefit the additional protections that the Paid Family Leave would provide. While you have less than two years in office and many pressing issues to address, I trust that as a man (not just a President) who has shown that compassion for the lesser of these is a pressing concern for you as well, I trust that you will do all within your power, to forward this cause.

With great respect and admiration,

Marie
Hollywood, FL

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