Statement on Paid Family and Medical Leave
For Immediate Release: Sept. 30, 2019
Dear Members of the Paid Family and Medical Leave Task Force,
Thank you for the opportunity to provide public comment on and support for the development of a paid family and medical leave program in Colorado. As the President and CEO of Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountains (PPRM includes Colorado, New Mexico, Southern Nevada, and Wyoming), I am proud to lead an organization that has been supporting our patients to make empowered decisions about their health care for over 100 years. Since 1916, we have been committed to delivering the highest quality reproductive and sexual health care, teaching medically accurate, age-appropriate sexuality education, and working diligently to protect the right to access reproductive health care, including safe, legal abortion.
PPRM employs approximately 400 people and over 300 Coloradans, and as a public health provider serving nearly 100,000 individuals annually, we proudly endorse the creation of a high-quality paid family and medical leave program.
At PPRM, our existing medical and parental leave policies aim to go above and beyond. The variety and flexibility of our options allow for the overwhelming majority of our staff to take paid time away from work to care for a child. In addition to FMLA, we also offer a number of options to assist in covering the time taken away from work. We have a generous and popular sick time donation program allowing employees to share their time with another staff member, enhancing employee morale and supporting members of the PPRM family. We also offer an optional extended leave of absence for new parents who choose to take more time before returning to work. We offer “Wellness Days” for our employees to practice self-care, and for over 25 years we have had a "Bring Your Baby to Work" policy, which is unique to PPRM and utilized by a vast majority of parents on staff. This policy allows staff to bring their young child to work until they are mobile, or approximately six months old. We are committed to supporting staff in taking time away from work for personal needs, work-life balance, and to support their families.
These policies contribute to employee satisfaction, retention, and productivity. As one of Colorado’s largest nonprofit health care providers, a statewide paid family medical leave insurance program with low monthly premiums would be an additional benefit for our budget planning and would reduce the administrative burden on our organization. We have done the math. We would save money by participating in the proposed program.
As community health care providers, we know comprehensive family and medical leave policies support the health of the whole population, not only our employees. We also know when new parents have access to paid family and medical leave, both parents and children benefit – studies have demonstrated improved maternal health, reduced rates of hospitalization for infants, and markedly decreased incidents of low birthweight and preterm births, postpartum depression, and maternal and infant mortality.
We live in the only one of thirty-five OECD countries that doesn’t offer paid leave to new mothers. Our nation’s current patchwork of policies is inequitable, and we know that low-income workers and workers of color are some of the least likely to have access to supportive paid family and medical leave policies. As a matter of public health, we believe paid leave programs provide specific health equity benefits to low-income people. Time to recover, care for and bond with a newborn, or support an ill or recovering family member must not and cannot remain a privilege accessible only to the few.
President and CEO, Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountains
Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountains, which includes Colorado, Southern Nevada, New Mexico, and Wyoming, has been helping individuals make responsible decisions for over 100 years.
Since 1916, we have been committed to delivering the highest quality reproductive health care, teaching responsible and age-appropriate sex education, and have been working diligently to protect an individual’s right to make their own decisions. Each year nearly 100,000 women, men, and teens visit our 24 health centers throughout our region.
Call 1.800.230.PLAN for the Planned Parenthood nearest you.