December 27, 2002
Please take a moment to tell George W. Bush and
Secretary of Labor Elaine Chao that you oppose
repealing the regulations that would allow states to
provide unemployment insurance (UI) for parental
leave. We know that when parents take time off from
their jobs to care for a newborn, they must continue
to receive income. But George W. apparently does not
know this, or does not care about the needs of
On December 3, the NOT so family-friendly Bush
Administration announced that it intends to rescind
the regulations that allow states to provide
unemployment insurance (partial wage replacement) to parents who take time off of work to care for a new or sick child. These regulations, known as "Baby UI," were
authorized by the Department of Labor under the
Clinton Administration. Despite efforts to paint itself as friendly to families, the Bush Administration
consistently puts the desires of business above the
needs of families. (Business and industry groups have
been quite vocal in opposing use of the Unemployment
Insurance system to provide paid family leave.)
Rescinding these regulations is particularly damaging
for women as it jeopardizes women's financial security
and limits options in the struggle to balance work and
Please help us flood the White House and the Department of Labor with messages opposing this anti-family move -- send your message of opposition to the administration's proposed rescinding of "Baby UI" as soon as possible and forward this message to others so that they can participate. All comments must be received by the end of January.
Repealing the regulations that allow states to provide
partially paid parental leave through the Unemployment Insurance
(UI) system is part of the Bush Administration's
larger agenda to undermine women's equal participation in the workforce.
Paid parental leave, even partial wage replacement like this UI plan, is a crucial step towards gaining economic security for women. NOW strongly supported paid
parental leave when Congress first dealt with the
issue in the 1980's. It is an important provision
for combating poverty, as one-quarter of all poverty
experiences in the U.S. begin with the birth of a
child. Rescinding these regulations signals an
about-face on the progress that women in the workforce
have made in recent years.
UI was created in the 1930's when 20% of women were in
the paid workforce, and little has been done
since then to update it. It does not address the needs
of the 70% of mothers in the paid workforce, who on
average provide one-third of their family's income.
Providing access to unemployment insurance for
parental leave is a strong step in the right
direction, and 16 states have proposals underway to do
Unfortunately, this much-needed reform may be reversed
by the Bush Administration before all states have the
chance to implement it. In today's uncertain economic
climate, unemployment insurance is especially crucial.
It keeps people connected to the workforce and may
help many of them stay off of welfare. A 2000
Department of Labor study shows that nearly one in ten
people who did not receive full pay while taking
parental or other types of family and medical leave
was forced to go on public assistance.
Now is the time to strengthen the unemployment
insurance safety net, not to dismantle it.
Unemployment insurance must be made more responsive to
women, part-time and low-wage workers, victims of
domestic violence or sexual harassment, recent
entrants to the workforce, and temporary, seasonal and
self-employed workers. These are the very workers that
are hardest-hit during an economic downturn.
For more information:
How the unemployment insurance system affects women:
Many states have proposed, and several have enacted,
improvements to the unemployment insurance system.
More information is available online at:
http://www.nelp.org/pub154.pdf and http://www.nelp.org/pub153.pdf
Again, please take action and send your message to the White House.
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