Hello, bloggers! In preparation for our upcoming meeting, we have created a form letter that will not only be given to our distinguished Congresswoman's staff but will also be forward to some leading businesses, such as Starbucks Coffee Co. and Wal-Mart. This letter will be modified slightly for each audience, but we are hoping to reach as many people as possible to begin this important conversation regarding parental leave reform. Here is our letter:
To Whom It May Concern:
We are a group of students from Boston University School of Theology. We are ministers and scholars writing with a concern for America’s families. The issue of parental leave has not often been discussed in recent years, and yet it is an issue that is of imminent importance. The arrival of a child should be a time of great joy for a family, but all too often it is instead a time of worry and stress. Under America’s current parental leave policy, a new parent may take only twelve weeks of leave or they risk losing their job, and the reality is that new parents sometimes lose their jobs despite this promised minimum leave time. There is no promise of pay during this leave time. America currently has the worst parental leave policy in the developed world. This puts undue strains on both parents and children as parents must return to work in order to make ends meet and are forced to leave their children in the care of strangers. Childcare workers, while generally loving and compassionate, simply cannot provide infants with the kind of one on one care they need to ensure proper development.
Under the current policy, parents use a combination of sick and vacation leave if they wish to receive pay during their leave time. If they do not have enough sick and vacation days, they must survive without pay. This creates an unsafe situation for new infants for, if the child becomes sick once their parent returns to work, the parent may not have any way to take off work to care for them. This is especially problematic for single parents. The policy as it stands now puts undue financial burdens on new parents and this can have nothing but a negative effect on their newborn child. This policy is particularly punitive for impoverished families who literally may not be able to afford losing either parent’s pay for any amount of time.
America’s current parental leave policy is unjust. It creates unsafe environments for newborns and places undue stress on new parents. America’s families are its heart and soul. We know that you care deeply for families and our sincere hope is that you will be willing to work for children and parents to have happier, healthier lives. We know that you care for America’s children and our hope is that you will work to give them every advantage possible, particularly in the earliest days and weeks of their lives. It is for these reasons that we are requesting that America adopt a better, less punitive, and more just parental leave policy: because America’s families and children are counting on it.
“The Second Isaiahs”