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“Congress should pass this bill and help women keep moving forward, not take us backward” - Cecile Richards

WASHINGTON, DC  Planned Parenthood Federation of America applauded Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA) and Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-CT) for this week’s reintroduction of the Healthy Families Act, a common sense measure that would help ensure working women and families are able to take paid sick leave. Women are the primary breadwinners in 40 percent of American households with children, and nearly one-quarter of adults in the United States (23 percent) report that they have lost a job or have been threatened with losing their job for taking time off due to illness or to care for a sick child or relative.

Statement from Cecile Richards, President, Planned Parenthood Federation of America:

“No woman should have to choose between taking care of her health and the well-being of her family and keeping her job. More women than ever have entered the workforce, thanks in large part to expanded access to birth control. Unfortunately, some workplace policies have not kept up with this progress.

“We’re grateful to Senator Murray and Representative DeLauro for their continued leadership for women and families.  Congress should pass this bill and help women keep moving forward, not take us backward. This bill is common sense and it’s the right thing to do.  All women and families deserve workforce protections that will help them succeed at home and at work.”

According to a fact sheet compiled by the National Partnership for Women and Families, The Healthy Families Act would:

      Allow workers in businesses with 15 or more employees to earn up to seven job protected paid sick days each year to be used to recover from their own illnesses, access preventive care, provide care to a sick family member, or attend school meetings related to a child’s health condition or disability. Workers in businesses with fewer than 15 employees would earn up to seven job-protected unpaid sick days each year to be used for the same reasons, unless their employers choose to offer paid sick days. 

      Allow workers who are victims of domestic violence, stalking, or sexual assault to use their paid sick days to recover or seek assistance related to an incident. 

      Include a simple method for calculating accrued sick time. Workers would earn a minimum of one hour of paid sick time for every 30 hours worked, up to 56 hours (seven days) per year, unless the employer selects a higher limit. 

      Allow employers to require certification if an employee uses more than three paid sick days in a row. For victims of domestic violence, the certification may be from a law enforcement officer or victim advocate. 

      Allow employers to use their existing policies, as long as they meet the minimums set forth in the Healthy Families Act for time, types of use and method of use, and give employers flexibility as to how they define a “year” for the purposes of sick time accrual.

Background on women’s health and economic opportunity:

      A 2012 University of Michigan study found that fully one-third of the wage gains women have made since the 1960s are the result of access to oral contraceptives. This study also found that the decrease in the gap among 25–49-year-olds between men’s and women’s annual incomes “would have been 10 percent smaller in the 1980s and 30 percent smaller in the 1990s” in the absence of widespread legal birth control access.

       Additional studies have found that access to contraception contributed significantly to more young women obtaining at least some college education and to more college-educated women pursuing advanced professional degrees.

      Highlighting the fact that birth control is a top economic driver for women, Bloomberg Businessweek recently listed contraception as one of the most transformational developments in the business sector in the last 85 years.



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February 13, 2015