Dear Mr. President:
My name is Erin and I am writing you to talk with you about the importance of paid family and medical leave. I know to some this may not seem like a big deal. Many would be happy just to have a job. The hard part for so many families is that their health care is even more important. If a person is not healthy they cannot work. If they cannot work they cannot pay for health care. You have been so supportive of healthcare in this country already it seems like no brainer for you to support paid family and medical leave.
I know my family has benefited from paid family and medical leave. With both of my pregnancies, I was so sick that working through them without family leave would have been detrimental to the health of both pregnancies. Paid benefit time allowed me and my babies and my entire family to thrive and take the time we needed to get well.
I know that I am not alone in my desire to see the country act on paid family leave. While my children are thriving, for the growing number of families that include children with special health care needs, the need for paid family leave is even more critical. A study of families in major cities across the country, published in Pediatrics in November of 2006, showed that children with special health care needs averaged 20 missed school or child care days annually, in addition to 12 doctor or emergency department visits, and 1.7 hospitalizations. Although 81% of parents in the study missed work for a child’s illness, 41% reported not always missing work when their child needed them, and 40% of leave-takers reported returning to work too soon.
Life is complicated and stressful. Paid family and medical leave will strengthen and support families when they need it most.
Other developed nations have paid family and medical leave for their citizens and it is time this was looked at as a right not a privilege of those who have work places that support this.
cc: Connecticut Governor Dannel P. Malloy