Wisconsin Alliance for Women’s Health: Celebrates the introduction of the Wisconsin Family & Medical Leave Insurance Act

Contact: Sara Finger, (608) 251-0139 x1

Proposal Would Help Working Families Achieve Economic Security and Work-Family Balance

Madison, WI – The Wisconsin Alliance for Women’s Health (WAWH) was proud to join State Representative Sondy Pope, State Senator Janis Ringhand and the Main Street Alliance of Wisconsin for the introduction of  legislation that would create a Wisconsin Family and Medical Leave Insurance program.  If enacted, this bill would empower Wisconsin workers to take paid time off from work to take care of their own serious health condition, to care for a family member with a serious health condition, or care for a new baby. 

Today’s virtual press event featured stories from Megan Diaz-Ricks of Madison, Carolyn Desrosiers of the Fox Valley, Anna Ringstad of Ladysmith and Macy Buhler of Deforest.

“Access to paid family and medical leave is an extremely important issue for working women and has a direct impact on their personal and financial health,” said Sara Finger, WAWH Executive Director.  “The burden of our inadequate paid family and medical leave policies falls disproportionately on women, who make up nearly half of the workforce but are still far more likely than men to care for children or other family members who are sick.” 

The United States is the only industrialized country in the world that doesn’t provide workers with any type of guaranteed paid leave.  Nationally, only 19% of workers have paid family leave through their employers. As a result, workers who take time off to take care for themselves or their families often face a significant loss of income. Other states and local governments have begun to effectively address this issue.  California, New Jersey, Rhode Island, New York, and Washington, D.C. have enacted public insurance programs that provide workers with paid family leave.

Even though both the federal and Wisconsin Family Medical Leave Acts (FMLA’s) do provide important protections to some workers, a significant portion of the workforce is not eligible for these protections and both FMLA’s only provide for unpaid time off, which is not financially possible for many employees. 

“Especially in light of the pandemic, there is a real thirst for policies that will improve the health and economic security of working families. The public wants action, not just rhetoric, which will address the very real concerns they have about their ability to achieve economic security and balance the often competing demands they face between work and their families.  Our elected leaders should heed these demands and seize the opportunity presented by this proposal to help ensure that we have a strong, healthy workforce and strong, healthy economy,” added Finger. 

To watch video from the virtual introduction of the Wisconsin Family Medical Leave Insurance Act (LRB 5820/1) and to hear powerful stories of how not having paid leave policy in Wisconsin has hurt real Wisconsin women and families link here: https://fb.watch/bjyIXd8Bj2/