Dear President Obama
My name is Evelin. I live in Bellevue Washington with my husband and 2 children, and work at a social service agency. I am writing to you to share my family’s story with lack of paid leave and encourage you to take action.
A few years ago, doctors let my dad know that he needed surgery because he was on the border of kidney failure. My father refused to listen to the doctors’ instructions, because he would need 6 weeks to recover from the surgery and he didn’t have that much sick time and vacation. My father’s concern was how he would stay home without any income to pay his bills.
Without the surgery, he kept getting sick, so he could not save up enough time off for the surgery. My sister and I had a lot of stress, too, because we worried so much about our father’s health, and we had to keep taking time off work ourselves to take our father to the emergency room.
After a year, my father just decided to get his surgery done. The doctors’ orders were for him not to return back to work for 6 weeks. Since my father did not have any income, he told the doctor that he needed to go back to work at 4 weeks.
I used up all of my paid leave taking care of my father after his surgery. I worry now that one of my kids will get sick this winter, and I won’t have any sick time left to stay home with them.
Thank goodness my father is now well. But it was a hard few years for my whole family dealing with my father’s health.
My uncles live in California where they have the state disability and family leave insurance coverage. If my father lived in California instead of Washington, he would have been able to have the surgery when his doctor first told him, and stay home until he was fully recovered, because he would have had income coming in. My sister and I would not have had so much stress and missed work, either.
President Obama, please, I urge you to support a federal paid family and medical leave policy so everyone has paid leave and is able to take care of their family. I also urge you please send a strong message to our local Mayors and state legislatures to pass paid leave legislation. Families like mine should not have to struggle to keep our families healthy.
Thank you for taking the time to read my family’s story. Everybody needs to have both paid sick leave and family and disability leave insurance. I hope we can pass laws in our state and for the whole country so that working people take care of their health and their families.