Building an Economy that Works for Everyone

More Moms Moving States On Paid Family Leave, Fair Wages

Seems like we’ve always got a reason to say “thanks, Mom!” no matter how old we get. – the so-called “naptime activists” – have been a potent force behind many state and local government efforts to promote policies that make work more family-friendly – including Washington’s paid family leave law.

State and local governments truly have been the incubators of new ideas to help our communities and businesses prosper. Since the federal Family and Medical Leave Act passed over a decade ago, a wide range of innovative policies to help working families have been coming from the states:

  • California and Washington state are the first states to enact laws providing paid family leave for employees needing to care for a new child.
  • The city of San Francisco is the first jurisdiction to guarantee all employees paid sick days off to care for family members.
  • Oklahoma guarantees pre-kindergarten for all children, making it a state leader in extending guaranteed early education for 4-year olds.

And the trend is continuing this year:

  • Missouri legislators are proposing an increase in that state’s minimum wage (currently only $2.65 an hour, the lowest in the nation) to the federal level. An estimated 19,000 Kansans earn less than the federal minimum wage of $5.85.
  • In New Jersey, paid family leave legislation is being fast-tracked, after Senate Majority Leader Stephen Sweeney introduced amended legislation that reduces the amount of time off for an employee caring for a family member from 10 weeks to six weeks.
  • More than 39 states now invest in pre-kindergarten programs and more budgets this year increased investments in early education.
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