My name is Shannon Cockayne and I live in Independence, Oregon. I live there with my husband who is retired from the Air Force and now works for the school district. He also has diabetes and requires 4 insulin shots per day. Despite a successful work history, I now have to limit myself to jobs that are close to home and allow me to administer his insulin every day. As a result, I am limited to low-paying, often part-time, jobs that do little to stabilize our finances.
In addition, my sister was recently diagnosed with pulmonary fibrosis. She has a lot of doctors’ appointments and typically needs help getting there. Since I work only 3 days a week right now, I’m able to help her out. But I worry about the long haul. The prognosis is bad. I need full-time work.
Lots of people in our state need to work and have significant family caregiving responsibilities like I do. I know I will be facing periods when I need to take time off work to help manage a transition in my husband’s or sister’s illness. But I can not afford to quit working. Paid family leave could help me manage these critical times and also stay employed. If Oregon truly values families, we will invest in systems like paid family and medical leave that help families take care of their loved ones without going under financially.