Councilmember M. Lorena González, Chair of the Council’s Gender Equity Committee, issued the following statement following Senator Karen Keiser’s (D – Des Moines) and Representative June Robinson’s (D – Everett) unveiling of State legislation to provide paid family and medical leave to support and strengthen Washington’s working families:
“I am proud to stand in support and solidarity with Senator Keiser and Representative Robinson, alongside Seattle’s workers, families, business owners and advocates. A recent statewide study by the Employment Security Department indicates that Washingtonians from all walks of life—and across party lines— support paid family and medical leave. Further, national research clearly shows that these policies are as good for business as they are for workers.
“This State legislation compliments our own work toward a comprehensive paid family leave policy for Seattle’s working families, and I proudly support this common-sense statewide effort that would help hundreds of thousands of working families across Washington State.
“As my office begins the process of drafting legislation to institute a paid family leave policy within the city of Seattle, I want to stress the importance of these statewide efforts as well. Our country is woefully behind every other developed country in the world in our lack of paid parental leave, and we lag behind most developed countries in our scarce protections for workers experiencing pregnancy or birth-related health issues or family health crises. In fact, only 12% of America’s workers have access to any paid parental leave at all despite the ample proof that it improves worker productivity and retention, among many other economic and physical health benefits.”