Feminist Majority Celebrates Introduction of Family and Medical Insurance Leave Act (FAMILY Act)
WASHINGTON -- Feminist Majority today celebrates and applauds Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro (D-CT) and Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) for introducing the critically-needed paid family medical leave legislation.
The Family and Medical Insurance Leave Act (FAMILY Act) will allow workers to take paid time off to address a serious illness of their own, a spouse, parent or child or to care for a new baby or adopted child. If passed, employees can earn up to 12 weeks of paid family leave each year through the creation of a national insurance fund. Both employers and employees would contribute to the fund, which would be administered through a new Office of Paid Family and Medical Leave within the Social Security Administration.
The United States passed unpaid family medical leave in 1993 through the Family and Medical Leave Act, which allows employees to take up to 12 weeks off to care for themselves or new children, or critically ill spouses, parents or children. However, it only covers employees who have worked for the same employer for at least one year and who worked 1,250 hours the previous year. Additionally, only employees in organizations of 50 or more employees are covered -- meaning that 40 percent of workers in the United States have no job-guaranteed leave.
"The United States is the only industrialized nation that doesn't provide paid maternity leave and we are grossly lagging behind other countries in paid employee and family leave," said Eleanor Smeal, Feminist Majority president. "When a medical emergency strikes or when a child is born or adopted, women are the ones most likely to leave the workplace – and their paychecks – to provide care at home. Loss of their incomes just when it is needed the most can be devastating. No one should have to risk financial insecurity to care for a loved one or themselves in such circumstances."
Feminist Majority launched an online action today, allowing constituents to directly contact their senators and representatives and urge them to support the Family Act.
8/28/2015 Alaska Court Protects Abortion Access for Low-Income Women - The Alaska Superior Court struck down a state law yesterday that would have severely limited abortion access for low-income women in Alaska.
The state's Superior Court also struck down a Department of Health and Social Services regulation that placed narrow specifications on Medicaid coverage for abortions, requiring that Medicaid-funded abortions be determined by a physician to be "medically necessary." Last year, the Center for Reproductive Rights, the American Civil Liberties Union, and Planned Parenthood sued on behalf of the Planned Parenthood of the Great Northwest, claiming that the narrow definition of "medically necessary" arbitrarily established conditions designed to restrict the ability of low-income women to access abortion services.
The law was temporarily blocked last July by an Alaskan state court judge.
Superior Court Judge John Suddock ordered yesterday that the state be blocked from implementing this regulation, ruling that it placed an undue burden on low-income women seeking abortion services in Alaska.
"By providing health care to all poor Alaskans except women who need abortions, the challenged regulation violates the state constitutional guarantee of 'equal rights, opportunities, and protection under the law'," the ruling read.
"We applaud the superior court for striing down these cruel restrictions on women's health and rights that violate the Alaska Constitution," said Chris Charbonneau, CEO of Planned Parenthood of the Great Northwest and the Hawaiian Islands. . . .
8/26/2015 Saudi Women Prepare to Vote for the First Time - The fight for gender equality is making slow but notable progress in Saudi Arabia, where women will be allowed to vote for the first time in upcoming December elections.
This shift in Saudi law came in 2011, when a royal decree announced that women would be allowed to vote and run in local elections beginning in December of 2015. . . .