Kudos to President Obama for Taking the Lead on Sick, Safe, and Parental Leave

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Friday, January 16, 2015

Legal Momentum applauds the Obama Administration's announcement yesterday of a number of initiatives that will strengthen families and bring more safety and productivity to workplaces. As staunch and longtime advocates of policies that are more responsive to the needs of pregnant workers, and survivors of domestic and sexual violence, Legal Momentum looks forward to working with the Obama Administration to champion these issues.
We especially welcome the charge to Congress and the states to pass paid sick and safe days bills. Having represented clients like Maria*—a domestic violence survivor who was fired after she requested just two days off to recover from her injuries and meet with a prosecutor—we know how vital it is for survivors to have access to paid leave, and to have their jobs waiting for them when they return. The Healthy Families Act, and the existing and proposed state laws in Washington DC, Massachusetts, Washington, Vermont and Oregon (among other places), will ensure that employees have time to take care of themselves and their families and enable them to return to and focus on work, having addressed their family concerns, whether a sick parent or child, or an incident of domestic or sexual violence.
We’re pleased to see the President take executive action and urge Congress to act on the issue of pregnancy leave for federal employees. Relative to the parental leave provided by other nations, today's proposal is a modest, but needed step in the direction of ensuring that our federal workplace remains both competitive in the provision of benefits, and also productive in terms of permitting employees vital time to bond with their children and return to work ready to engage and contribute.
These new White House initiatives recognize the need for common sense policies that make America healthier, fairer and more family-friendly. We hope that Congress and the states will follow through to move our country towards fully supporting and empowering working parents in their roles both as workers and parents.  

* Name changed to protect confidentiality

Contributed by Lisalyn R. Jacobs, Vice President for Governmental Affairs