Strong Working Families Begin with Paid Parental Leave

Studies have shown that the limited availability of paid parental leave in the United States is a great injustice to millions of working women and men, a significant contributor to wage inequality and a detriment to the economic health of our country. Additionally, paid parental leave improves the health and development outcomes of children, including increased birthweight, decreased premature births and decreased infant mortality.

AFSCME members around the country believe strongly that all parents should be able to care for their children without risking unemployment or financial hardship. That’s why a resolution in support of paid parental leave is passed at every AFSCME International Convention. It’s also why AFSCME members nationwide – including those in Florida’s AFSCME Local 199 – push for it at the bargaining table and before state legislatures.

Tiffany Weldon, a police records technician with Miami-Dade County, says the lack of paid parental leave factored into her plans to start a family. “Right now it seems there is a choice that has to be made – either choose time with your child instead of your career, or choose your job so your child can have as much opportunity to succeed as possible,” she said.

“It shouldn’t have to be like that,” Weldon said. “I want to have a real relationship with my child as well as giving them every chance to succeed in their own life.”

Soon, members like Weldon will not have to choose between the two. That is because AFSCME Local 199, working alongside other unions and community allies, successfully passed a partial paid parental leave ordinance

The ordinance, which will go into effect once the county accepts an amended contract, will provide six weeks of partial paid leave to care for a newborn, newly adopted child, or newly placed foster child (or children). Specifically, workers taking advantage of the new ordinance will get 100 percent of base wages for the first two weeks, 75 percent of base wages for the following two weeks, and 50 percent of base wages for the remaining two weeks.

“This completely reinforces to me why I chose to join AFSCME,” said Weldon. “By winning on benefits like this it really lets me plan for my future, knowing I can continue doing the job I like while still being the best parent I can be.”