Today, on National Working Parents Day, I am announcing a package of bills to support working parents right here in Pennsylvania. The bills include an increase of the minimum wage, paid parental leave, elimination of employment discrimination based on marital/family status and installing diaper changing stations in every bathroom.
For this month’s edition of the Blueprint, I want to take a closer look at my bill for Paid Parental Leave. Did you know there are only two countries in the world that have no form of mandated family leave? They are Papua New Guinea and USA. Even in this country, only a handful of states require some form of paid family leave. I believe that Pennsylvania can and should become the sixth state in the nation to truly embrace the concept of “family values” by requiring paid parental leave for workers.
While the Federal Family and Medical Leave Act requires employers grant certain employees 12 weeks of unpaid leave, this is an unrealistic option for many workers, particularly low-income women who live in poverty and can't afford to miss a single paycheck. The lack of a requirement of paid leave in current law leaves many workers without any realistic family leave options whatsoever.
In addition to The Blueprint, I am sharing a pamphlet about my bill that would mandate diaper changing stations in all publicly-accessible restrooms. Even now in 2019, many parents in Pennsylvania are forced to resort to alternative unsafe and unsanitary means to change diapers such as using a bathroom floor, a bathroom sink, a park bench, the back of the car, or even a restaurant table because of a lack of diaper-changing stations in public restrooms. Further, Pennsylvanians continue to see disappointingly and disproportionately low numbers of male restrooms with diaper-changing stations, despite the rising number of stay-at-home fathers and an increase in parents sharing responsibilities. Beyond not being family friendly, the practice of not having diaper-changing stations in restrooms is out-of-touch with the modern family and arguably discriminatory in nature.
I hope you enjoy these resources. Please let me know if you have any questions.