Re:  OTPC Support for Paid Family Leave Policies

February 1, 2017
 
Dear Senator/Representative:

On behalf of the Oklahoma Turning Point Council and our partners across the state, we encourage you to support programs and policies that provide access to paid family leave, such as HB1310 and HB1536 (the Healthy Families and Workplace Act); HB1641 (the Paid Family Leave Act of 2017); HB1815 and SB143 (the Paid Family Leave Act); and SB736 (the Paid Family and Leave Program).

The Oklahoma Turning Point Council (OTPC) formed in 1997 to help transform public health in Oklahoma by working directly with community partnerships on health improvement initiatives. Rather than a top down approach to public health, Turning Point seeks input from communities to help identify community priorities and implement local solutions.  For over 15 years, Turning Point has partnered with communities across Oklahoma to work on local innovations such as community health centers, extensive walking trails, community gardens, improved school health activities and advocacy for health improvement policies.  OTPC also serves as an independent statewide consortium focused on policy issues aimed at improving Oklahoma’s health, and paid family leave policies are an increasingly important issue for Oklahoma families.

As of March 2011, only 11% of private sector workers and 17% of public sector workers report access to paid family leave.[1] While the Family Medical Leave Act of 1993 was an important step forward, it only provides unpaid benefits to less than 60% of the U.S. workforce and 78% of workers report they cannot afford to take unpaid leave.[2]

Offering paid family 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 taking leave.[1] Paid parental leave also results in reduced rates of low birth weight and pre-term babies, lower rates of infant mortality, and increased bonding between parent and child.[3]

Employers benefit from paid family leave policies as well; workers with paid leave are 28% less likely to be injured at work and more likely to remain at the same employer upon returning from a period of leave.[4] Studies have shown that businesses reported minimal or no observable impacts on operations after the implementation of paid leave.[5]

The Oklahoma Turning Point Council along with the organizations listed, are grateful for your service and commitment to Oklahoma and look forward to working with you to implement paid family leave policies that support Oklahoma’s families.

Thank you,

Sandy Foster
Chair, Oklahoma Turning Point Council

 
  
[1] Houser, L. & Vartanian, T. (2012a). Pay matters: The positive economic impacts of paid family leave for families, businesses and the public.  Retrieved from www.cww.rutgers.edu
[2] Sherriff, R. (2007). Balancing work and family. California Senate Office of Research.
[3] Human Impact Partners. (2011). Fact sheet: Parental leave and the health of infants, children and mothers. Retrieved from www.humanimpact.org
[4] American Public Health Association. (2013). Support for paid sick leave and family leave policies. Retrieved from https://www.apha.org/policies-and-advocacy/public-health-policy-statements/policy-database/2014/07/16/11/05/support-for-paid-sick-leave-and-family-lea

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