Re:  OTPC Support for Paid Family Leave Policies

February 1, 2018
Dear Senator/Representative:

On behalf of the Oklahoma Turning Point Council (OTPC) and our partners across the state, we encourage you to support programs and policies that provide access to paid family  and caregiver leave.
In 2015, only 12% of private sector workers reported access to paid family leave. While the Family Medical Leave Act of 1993 was an important step forward, only 56% of women in the U.S. with young children are eligible for FMLA. In Oklahoma, only 37% of employees reported being able to afford the unpaid use of FMLA. 
Offering paid family and caregiver leave has positive impacts for both the family and society. Men and women who take paid parental leave have a significantly lower likelihood of receiving public assistance in the year following the birth of a child compared with those who return to work immediately without takin leave.  Paid parental lave also result in reduces rates of low birth weight and preterm babies, lowers rates of infant mortality, increases rates of immunizations, breastfeeding and increased bonding between parent and child.  In Oklahoma, citizens aged 75 and older is expected to rise to 757,553 in the next 15 years, and it is estimated that 12% of them will require help from others for personal care. There are 524,000 people in Oklahoma who serve as family caregivers, and 70% of caregivers have reported having to miss work in order to provide care to their loved ones.
Employers benefit from paid family leave policies as well; workers with paid leave are 28% likely to be injured at work and more likely to remain at the same employer upon returning from a period of leave. Studies have shown that businesses reported minimal or no observable impacts on operations after the implementation of paid leave.
The OTPC serves as an independent statewide consortium focused on policy issues aimed at improving Oklahoma's health, and paid family and caregiver leave policies are increasingly important for Oklahoma families.  OTPC formed in 1997 to help transform public health in Oklahoma by working directly with community partnerships on health improvement initiatives.
The OTPC along with the organizations listed are grateful for your service and to Oklahoma and look forward to working with you to implement paid family leave policies that support Oklahoma families.

Doug Moore
2018 OTPC Chair 

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