True to its mission, St. Louis Jobs with Justice (JwJ) is taking up a fight for St. Louis city workers to ensure they get a paycheck if they have to take off work to care for a loved one or children or, in the case of a military family, an unexpected deployment of a breadwinner.
The national Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA), passed in 1993, was designed to ensure workers could achieve a modicum of work-life balance by allowing unpaid time off that wouldn’t threaten their jobs. However, that can create serious financial crises in many cases, especially for workers in lower-paid jobs.
In presenting the issue for a change in St. Louis that would provide FMLS paid time off, JwJ Policy Director Richard Von Glahn explained to the St. Louis Labor Council’s Executive Board that workers “deserve the right to paid time off to care for their families without having to sacrifice their income.”
JwJ’s proposal to the city includes:
- Paid Parental Leave: 12 weeks to be able to care for their children’s health and welfare needs.
- Paid Caregiver Leave: four weeks to be able to take care of a loved one in a medical crisis.
- Paid Military Deployment Leave: 80 hours in cases where a military deployment creates an unforeseen caregiving emergency.
“Through these three policies, the city of St. Louis can modernize FMLA to reflect the changing needs of workers and families,” a JwJ fact sheet stated. “In addition, the city will see boosts in employee morale and increases in productivity and employee retention.”