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Leading Pediatric Groups Call for Congressional Action on Paid Family Leave

2/7/2017

On the heels of today's introduction of the Family and Medical Insurance Leave (FAMILY) Act, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) and the Pediatric Policy Council (PPC) call on Congress to quickly pass the legislation, which would create a social insurance system enabling workers to take up to 12 weeks of paid leave to care for themselves or their families.

The AAP is an organization of 66,000 primary care pediatricians, pediatric medical subspecialists and pediatric surgical specialists dedicated to the health, safety and well-being of infants, children, adolescents and young adults. The PPC is a national child health policy consortium representing four major pediatric academic organizations—the Academic Pediatric Association (APA), the American Pediatric Society (APS), the Association of Medical School Pediatric Department Chairs (AMSPDC), and the Society for Pediatric Research (SPR).

"When parents cannot afford to take time off from work to care for their children, it's the children who suffer the most," said AAP President Fernando Stein, MD, FAAP. "All parents should be able to bond with and care for their young children during the critical first months of life and if their children fall ill, no matter what state they live in. Pediatricians look forward to working with Congress and the Trump Administration to advance important paid leave policies, including the FAMILY Act, that will help provide all children with the opportunity to thrive."

"From higher rates of vaccination to increased breastfeeding to improved maternal mental health, the evidence is clear: paid leave has essential benefits for children and parents in the early weeks and months of life. Research also shows that when children become seriously ill, having a parent there to care for them can have a marked effect on recovery," said Dr. Paul Chung, chair of the PPC. "Yet, just 14 percent of civilian U.S. workers have access to paid family leave. The FAMILY Act offers a solution that would go a long way to improving the health of our nation's children."

The FAMILY Act, introduced by Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-Conn.) and Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), would be funded by employers and employees from contributions payroll contributions of just two tenths of one percent. Workers could draw on the fund to recover from their own serious illness, care for a seriously ill family member, or bond with a new baby. Modeled after successful paid family leave insurance programs in California, New Jersey, and Rhode Island, the FAMILY Act builds on a foundation of experience and success.

The PPC and the AAP urge policymakers on both sides of the aisle to support the FAMILY Act to support children, families, and the nation.