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Hadassah Celebrates 20 Years of Family and Medical Leave Act, Advocates for Expanding Paid Leave Opportunities

Action Alerts

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
August 6, 2013

MEDIA INQUIRES CONTACT:
Steve Rabinowitz
Rabinowitz/Dorf Communications
steve@rabinowitz.com
(202) 265-3000

OTHER INQUIRIES CONTACT:
Sheryl Hoffman, Hadassah
Shoffman@hadassah.org
(202) 303-8112

NEW YORK—This week, Hadassah, The Women's Zionist Organization of America, recognizes the 20th anniversary of the implementation of the Family and Medical Leave Act and urges Congress to expand paid leave opportunities for American workers. At a Hadassah National Business Meeting last week, the organization's national board and delegates approved an organizational policy statement in support of women's economic equity and security—including calls for expanded family and medical leave, and additional regulations to increase opportunities for earned paid parental, family and sick leave.

"Hadassah has a long history advocating for equal rights and a just economic society—championing policies on civil rights, pay equity, parental leave, the minimum wage, and social welfare programs that protect America's most vulnerable citizens," the policy reads. "Hadassah reaffirms support for these policies, advocates for improved enforcement, and promotes the implementation of new measures that will provide flexibility for working families without forcing sacrifices to their economic security."

The Family and Medical Leave (FMLA) Act, signed into law on February 5, 1993, and first implemented six months later, was designed to help Americans "balance the demands of the workplace with the needs of families, to promote the stability and economic security of families, and to promote national interests in preserving family integrity." Under FMLA, eligible employees are entitled to a total of 12 workweeks of unpaid leave during any 12-month period for the birth or adoption of a child, to treat a serious health condition, or to care for a relative.

In 1989, Hadassah passed a policy statement in support of the Family and Medical Leave Act and continued to advocate for the legislation until it was enacted. It has been 20 years since FMLA, and the United States is one of only four countries that does not require any type of paid parental leave (maternal, paternal or adoption leave). Hadassah encourages cooperation between the public and private sectors to implement legislation and private initiatives that will expand opportunities for earned paid parental leave.

Lack of access to paid sick leave is also a major economic hardship for 40 million private sector workers (39 percent of the private sector workforce), according to a 2010 report of the Congressional Joint Economic Committee, "Expanding Access to Paid Sick Leave: The Impact of the Healthy Families Act on America's Workers." Hadassah is an advocate for the Healthy Families Act, currently in Congress, which would provide 90 percent of the private sector workforce—an additional 30 million workers——access to seven days of earned paid sick leave.

"As an organization founded and run by generations of women leaders, Hadassah is a proud advocate for women's rights and polices that protect and support women as professionals and leaders, mothers and daughters," said Hadassah National President Marcie Natan. "For Hadassah, the Family and Medical Leave Act was an important step 20 years ago, but today, more can—and must—be done to support the economic equity and security of women and families."

Click here for the full text of Hadassah's Women's Economic Equity and Security Policy Statement. A compendium of Hadassah's Policy Statements can be found at www.hadassah.org/policystatements.

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Hadassah, the Women's Zionist Organization of America, is the largest women's Zionist Jewish membership organization in the United States, and was founded in 1912. 330,000 members, associates, and supporters strong, Hadassah is now in its second century, growing our commitment to innovative and life-changing medical care and research, women's empowerment, education, advocacy, philanthropy and building Jewish identity – in Israel, America and around the world.

Date: 8/6/2013
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