To the Federal
To the US Department of Labor
- Ensure that the 2011 DOL-sponsored national
dialog on workplace flexibility addresses paid family leave, part-time parity,
and flexible work conditions for parents returning from maternity or paternity
leave. Ensure that marginalized and disadvantaged workers actively participate
in the dialog forums, including workers with same-sex partners, part-time
workers, and low-income workers.
- Publish data on compliance with the new
legal requirements on employer accommodation of breastfeeding, and promote
awareness of the law among employers and employees.
- Amplify outreach to workers and employers to
raise awareness of FMLA rights and obligations, including with respect to the
definition of “son or daughter” as it applies to workers “in
loco parentis” to a child.
To the US Congress
legislation to guarantee national paid family leave. The legislation should
ideally establish wage replacement for at least the period of leave allowed
under the FMLA, offer sufficient wage replacement to make leave a realistic
possibility for men and women, prohibit discrimination against workers requesting
leave, cover all employees (including those working part time), enable
self-employed individuals to opt in, and include meaningful penalties for
employer non-compliance. Financing should be through a public family leave
insurance mechanism, most likely funded through payroll tax deductions.
- In the interim, expand access to unpaid FMLA
leave, including by decreasing the firm size for FMLA coverage and expanding
worker eligibility by lowering the length of tenure and hours-worked
requirements. Also extend eligibility to reflect the care-giving needs of
extended families and families with same-sex partners.
- Enact legislation to establish a grant
program to help states provide wage replacement to workers on family leave
through public family leave insurance programs. In the interim, include funds
in the federal budget for the Department of Labor to offer grants to states for
paid leave programs.
- Enact the Federal Employees Paid Parental
Leave Act in accordance with aims to have the federal government act as a model
- Amend federal anti-discrimination
legislation to explicitly make it illegal for employers to discriminate on the
basis of family care-giving responsibilities.
- Enact other bills that would provide
supports for working families and promote gender equality, including the
Working Families Flexibility Act, the Healthy Families Act, and legislation to
better address the gender wage gap.
- The Senate should approve the ratification
of key treaties that include rights to paid family leave and work-family
supports, especially the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of
Discrimination against Women and the International Covenant on Economic, Social
and Cultural Rights, without harmful reservations.
To the White House
- Continue efforts to catalyze state
innovation on paid leave by including the state paid leave grant fund in the FY
2012 and subsequent budgets.
- Continue to speak out publicly about the
need for paid family leave, work-family supports, and protections against
discrimination for workers with family responsibilities.
To the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC)
- Closely monitor and publish data on cases of
discrimination against workers with family responsibilities, and amplify
efforts to inform employers about the ways that discrimination against family
caregivers can violate federal law.
- Commission a study on the increasing numbers
of pregnancy discrimination charges. Increase efforts to enforce the Pregnancy
Discrimination Act and sanction violators. Amplify efforts to raise awareness
among workers and employers about their rights and duties under the Act, and to
assist victims in pursuing discrimination claims.
To State Governments
- Enact state paid family leave laws. The
legislation should offer sufficient wage replacement, include job protections
and prohibit discrimination against workers requesting leave, cover all
employees, enable self-employed individuals to opt in, and include meaningful
penalties for employer non-compliance. Financing should be through a public
family leave insurance mechanism, most likely funded through payroll tax
- Establish multi-sector task forces or other
bodies to study feasible approaches to providing work-family supports,
including paid leave, and provide adequate resources for their work. Include
government representatives, lawmakers from all major political parties,
nongovernmental experts, healthcare professionals, business and labor leaders,
and worker representatives.
- In states without such laws, enact
legislation on workplace accommodations for pumping or breastfeeding at work,
in particular to cover the workers not covered by the federal health care
law’s provisions on breastfeeding accommodation.
- Enact laws on other work-family supports,
including laws on paid sick days and laws to protect employees requesting
flexible working conditions from retaliation.
- Enact or amend state anti-discrimination
laws to explicitly prohibit discrimination on the basis of family care-giving
responsibilities. State authorities charged with enforcing anti-discrimination
laws should ensure that cases of employment discrimination on the basis of
family care-giving responsibilities are investigated and prosecuted under
existing legal theories.
- States with existing paid family leave insurance
programs should increase efforts to raise public awareness about the programs,
and funds should be allocated for outreach. They should also gather data on
access to paid family leave benefits by disadvantaged classes of workers. The
laws establishing the programs should be amended to include job protections for
- State officials and lawmakers should convene
discussions within multi-state policy forums on work-family legislation
options, including on paid leave, flexible work arrangements, and protections
against discrimination on the basis of family responsibilities.