Jobs with Justice applauds County paid parental leave policy

Will benefit workers, families, Missouri’s economy

Missouri Jobs with Justice (MO JWJ) is applauding the St. Louis County Council for adopting paid parental leave for county workers.

With a majority 5-2 vote, all St. Louis County employees’ benefits now include 12 weeks of paid leave for primary caregivers, up to 80 hours paid time for prenatal appointments, and up to 80 hours paid time for infant wellness leave for first-year health care appointments.

“No matter what you do for a living, being there for those you love isn’t negotiable,” said Caitlyn Adams, executive director of Missouri Jobs with Justice. “For too long, working families have been forced to choose between bringing home a paycheck or being there for our loved ones. All working families should have the opportunity to be there for our families’ most important moments without risking bankruptcy or our livelihood.”

State pre-emption laws prevent our local leaders from enacting a stronger blanket policy for all workers. With recent policies including St. Louis City and this example from St. Louis County, other employers may soon follow.

“Employers who want to attract and retain the best employees should take note and adopt strong paid family leave policies,” said Nancy Bukovic, board president of Women’s Foundation of Greater St. Louis.

“These workers have kept our community running throughout the pandemic,” said Pat White, president of the St. Louis Labor Council. “We applaud County Executive Sam Page and Mayor Tishaura Jones for investing in the people who make up our neighborhoods and communities. Every worker deserves the security that paid family leave provides.”

“This policy has been long in the making and is good for workers, their families, their employers, and our community,” said John Bowman, president of the St. Louis County NAACP. “When a new child is born the last thing we need is to worry about what our boss might think. This proposal will especially help Black and brown workers who are least likely to be able to afford unpaid time away from work for caregiving responsibilities.”

“I would like to applaud Mayor Tishaura Jones and County Executive Sam Page for making paid family leave for city and county workers a reality,” said Mark Cavanah, area organizing director and administrator with AFSCME Local 410. “We need more leaders to step up and make this a reality across Missouri and eventually nationwide.”

Through this pandemic, the need for robust paid leave policies has only become more evident.

  • More than 600,000 Missouri workers do not have access to a single minute of paid time off to help an ailing family member, welcome a new child, or get the care they need to stay healthy
  • 53 million Americans provided unpaid care in 2020, up from 43.5 million in 2015
  • Working families lose $20.6 billion in lost wages due to lack of paid leave – money that cannot be put back into our local economy.

“We will continue to push our elected officials to invest in the people who make up our neighborhoods and communities,” said a statement from Missouri JWJ. “By coming together, we will build a Missouri where we all have what we need to live full, vibrant lives – no matter where we call home.”


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