Policy Resource

The Child Development Case for a National Paid Family & Medical Leave Insurance Program (The FAMILY Act)

Download Files Feb 19, 2013

We need public policies that promote time for parents and caregivers to care for and bond with their infants and toddlers, without jeopardizing the ability to pay for basic necessities.

In the first months and years of life, babies discover the world through experiences with their parents and other caregivers. A baby’s early relationships, especially with parents, shape the architecture of the developing brain. Enacting public policies that provide parents with paid leave from work to care for their young children is critical to the healthy development of children and families.

A baby’s early relationships require a depth of love for and knowledge of a child that only a primary caregiver can come to possess. It takes care, consistency, and, above all, time.

The Need

Public policies that promote time for parents and caregivers to care for and bond with their very young children, without jeopardizing the ability to pay for basic necessities.

  • Relationships—with both parents and other caregivers—are critical to a baby’s early development.
  • Too often, out of economic necessity, new parents must rush back to work and forgo precious bonding time with their children.

The Solution

A national paid family and medical leave program
The Family and Medical Insurance Leave Act, or FAMILY Act, would create a national insurance program that would support workers, their families, and businesses. The FAMILY Act would:

  • Allow women and men to receive a portion of their pay when they need time away from their jobs for specific family or medical reasons.
  • Provide eligible employees with up to 12 weeks of paid leave for their own serious illness; the serious illness of a child, parent, or spouse (including a domestic partner); the birth or adoption of a child; the injury of a family member who is in the military; or exigencies arising from a service member’s deployment.

The Benefits

  • A period of paid leave after birth contributes to the healthy development of infants and toddlers.
  • Family and medical leave improves outcomes for the entire family, including parents and caregivers.
  • Paid leave policies can benefit employers, taxpayers, and the economy, now and in the future.

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