Paid Family Leave for all of Hawaii's Families
Dear Legislator –
This year a number of bills have been introduced at the legislature on Paid Family Leave and yet none of them are providing the important provisions needed for families.
Currently, Hawaii employees do not have a right to paid medical or family leave. The federal Family Medical Leave Act (which leaves out 40 percent of the state’s workforce) provides for unpaid leave with job protection up to 12 weeks for employers with 50 or more employees. The state Family Leave Act applies to employers with 100 or more employees and allows for job protection up to four weeks. This is also unpaid leave.
According to the U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics, about 13 percent U.S. workers had access to paid family leave through their employers in 2014. Women are often disproportionately affected. The lack of paid family leave exacerbates the gender wage gap for women and affects the economic stability for both women and men who are caregivers.
I am an advocate with Hawaii Children’s Action Network (HCAN). We believe that families and the community will benefit from paid family leave by creating strong families with secure jobs.
To do that, we encourage you to support bills that have more similar language to HB1362/SB408, which includes:
· Provide universal coverage – all people and employers would participate in the system
· At least 12 weeks – this provides an adequate amount of time to bond and for the family to adjust to a new way of life
· Job Protection – if a person is not guaranteed a job upon completion of the leave, they likely will not take the leave
· Gender Equity – both mothers and fathers need the opportunity to bond with new children, it is not just “maternity leave”
· Expanded Definition of Family – In Hawaii, we have multiple generations, hanai family, and many other different caretakers for children, these all need to be included
· Wage Replacement – Many families live paycheck to paycheck and would never be able to take time off if unpaid or only a small percentage of their usual wages.
By creating a comprehensive Paid Family Leave bill, all families and the community will benefit.