THE BLOG

President Obama Makes Families a Priority

02/02/2015 07:21 pm ET | Updated Apr 04, 2015

We are thrilled with President Obama's commitment to women and families.

In his most recent State of the Union address, Obama called on Congress to pass a bill that would allow workers throughout the nation to earn up to seven paid sick days a year.

We're proud that Massachusetts voters adopted our own paid-sick-leave law by ballot initiative last November to guarantee that employers with more than 11 employees provide paid sick leave for all employees.

The president also promised to take new action to help states adopt their own paid-family-leave programs with $2 billion in grant initiatives. This was after he directed federal agencies to give employees up to six weeks of paid leave after the birth of a child or an adoption.

It is time that the United States make families a priority by providing paid sick time and family leave. The United States is the only advanced country that doesn't provide paid sick leave or paid maternity leave.

But we can do our own work here in Massachusetts. That's why we have asked our legislators on Beacon Hill to adopt the Massachusetts Pregnant Workers Fairness Act (PWFA). Under current law, employers are not required to provide pregnant workers accommodations unless they have a pregnancy-related disability.

Pregnant workers need more protection. Too often, pregnant employees are forced to take unpaid leave or leave their jobs entirely rather than risk their health by staying on the job.

The PWFA would change that. The law would make it illegal for employers to refuse to hire or fire a woman because she is pregnant, nursing or expressing milk. It would also become illegal for an employer to refuse to provide accommodations to pregnant women and those who suffer medical conditions related to pregnancy and childbirth.

As we fight for better protection for pregnant workers, you can help too. Contact your legislator and ask them to sign the bill. You can contact your legislator here.

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