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Pro-Family, Pro-Worker Research and Reports

Leadership Council Announces Common Ground Proposal For Paid Family Leave

The U.S. remains one of the world’s few industrialized nations without guaranteed paid family leave. Partisan approaches to enacting paid leave have, so far, had little success in changing this fact.

CPJ’s Families Valued program recently convened a leadership council to examine approaches to paid family leave that reach past traditional categories of right and left.

Representing diverse Christian traditions, denominations and political orientations, council members agreed on the importance of supporting those entrusted with the responsibility to care for those who are vulnerable in our society. Together, they concluded that a common ground approach to paid family leave, rooted in Christian values, should:

  • Ensure universal minimum benefits
  • Prioritize those who are vulnerable
  • Support diverse cultural conceptions of kin
  • Operate with administrative simplicity

Policymakers can move toward this vision by establishing a universal benefit for new parents and end-of-life caregivers, and by guaranteeing all workers at least two weeks of annual paid leave for meeting health and caregiving needs.

Honoring Families, Loving Our Neighbors: A Common Ground Proposal for Paid Family Leave

Christian scripture and tradition honor family life, teaching that God created families for good. Jesus celebrated families and modeled concern for an ever-widening circle of people, calling his followers to love their neighbors, particularly those who are marginalized and vulnerable.

These teachings, together, call us to cultivate a common life in which all people are empowered to meet their family responsibilities. Yet many new parents and family caregivers in the United States struggle to secure time to care for loved ones without financial strain or fear of job loss. The average American household, for example, experiences a drop in income during the months before and after a child is born, placing parents and children, especially those in low-income households, in a precarious position in one of the most demanding phases of family caretaking.

The lack of paid family leave in the United States is one of many ways our society falls short of hospitality to family life. We believe that paid family leave can and should be achieved in the United States. It should ensure universal minimum benefits, prioritize those who are vulnerable, support diverse cultural conceptions of kin, and promote administrative simplicity. Policymakers should move toward this vision by establishing a universal benefit for new parents and end-of-life caregivers, and by guaranteeing all workers at least two weeks of annual paid leave for health and caregiving needs.

Read the Executive Summary

Read the Full Proposal

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