Stew Lilker’s

Columbia County Observer

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FL Gets Failing Grade for Policies that Help Families

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Tallahassee, FL – For providing workplace policies that support families and children, a new report ranks Florida at the bottom among the 50 states.

The National Partnership for Women and Families gives Florida a D grade because the state has no requirements beyond the federal Family and Medical Leave Act that guarantees job protection or leave for new or expectant parents.

Sarah Fleisch Fink, director of workplace policy and senior counsel with the National Partnership for Women and Families, says supportive policies can go a long way in predicting success in the lives of children.

"We know that new children coming into the world thrive when parents can take time off after the birth or adoption of that child, to bond and to provide the important care that kids need," she states. "For women to get important prenatal and postnatal care that they need. For fathers to be able to bond and spend time with new children."

In addition to Florida, the report notes 26 other states have also done little or nothing to add such benefits as paid family and medical leave, paid sick leave or reasonable accommodations in the workplace for pregnant or nursing women. 

California is the only state that earned an A.

While California, New Jersey and Rhode Island have all adopted some form of paid family leave, Fleisch Fink says the poor level of support in so many states indicates a need for national change.

"This patchwork of laws, state-by-state, is not providing what expecting and new parents need," she says. "And so, what we also think needs to happen, in addition to state progress, is federal-level change."

The report notes that employers in states that have adopted family leave policies have seen no negative effects and, in many cases, increased productivity from employees. 

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