“I took time off for the birth of my first child and had no paid family leave benefit. Knowing that it would be a great financial stress on my family I tried my hardest to save all my sick days and vacation days to be used when I gave birth. That meant I went to work sick when I was pregnant, and it was miserable for everyone. I took sixteen weeks off to care for my infant, five of which I got paid.
With the majority of my time not paid our family depleted our savings account and two years later we have not been able to replenish it. We used our credit cards to pay for groceries and amounted debt. I qualified for SNAP benefits. It’s still astonishing and humbling to me that we both worked full time in decent jobs and live a modest lifestyle, and yet still relied on welfare. We prioritized being with our infant because it is what we value as a family but it was at the cost of our economic well being.
I believe in this very important issue because babies need care and bonding time with their parents to develop into healthy happy kids, and ultimately into adults who will thrive. I believe that if employers want to be competitive in the workplace they need to be innovative and should have policies that support hiring and retaining folks. And I believe this is an equity issue because there are large disparities in access to paid family and medical leave across groups of people, with access being particularly low among low-wage workers and those newer to the work force.”