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The following resolution was adopted by the CTU House of Delegates at its January 11, 2023 meeting.

WHEREAS the United States is one of the only wealthy nations in the world that does not have a nationally mandated paid parental leave policy for all citizens, and

WHEREAS up until recently the paid maternity policy for Chicago Public Schools was a recovery time of six weeks for a pelvic birth and eight weeks for a cesarean section which was woefully inadequate, and

WHEREAS the Mayor of Chicago has announced that all city employees should receive twelve weeks of paid parental leave [1], and

WHEREAS findings from the American Academy of Pediatrics [2] have shown that longer parental leaves show a decreased odds of malnutrition and respiratory conditions in babies, and

WHEREAS less than eight weeks of paid leave is linked to a reduction in overall health status and increased depression. Every additional week of paid leave a mother takes reduces the likelihood of reporting poor mental well-being by 2 percent. Longer paid leave significantly increases breastfeeding initiation and duration, which has innumerable benefits for nursing parents and babies, including improving the function of the digestive and immune system of the child, and reduces risk of breast and ovarian cancer, diabetes, and obesity for the nursing parent. Paid leave greater than 12 weeks increases infant immunization uptake [3], and

WHEREAS parents who take paid family leave are less likely to experience symptoms of postpartum depression and less likely to report parenting stress [4], and

WHEREAS research shows that paid parental leave policies significantly improves the birthing parent’s physical and mental health by allowing birthing parents time to recover from childbirth and adjust to new caregiving responsibilities, and

WHEREAS providing new parents with paid time off to care for newborn or recently adopted children contributes to healthy development, improves parental health, and enhances families’ economic security, and

WHEREAS unpaid leave is not affordable for many workers, especially those living paycheck to paycheck without adequate savings [5]. In a recent evaluation of FMLA, two-thirds of workers who did not take needed family and medical leave reported that they could not afford to take leave unpaid.[6] Black, Hispanic, and Native American workers are less likely to be able to afford unpaid leave from work than white workers, reflecting racial disparities in access to wealth-building opportunities and higher-paying jobs, and

WHEREAS paid parental leave also improves household economic security for families in the year following the birth of a child. These effects are particularly strong for low-income parents, who have access to fewer resources that help parents juggle caregiving responsibilities and employment, and

WHEREAS job-protected paid leave keeps parents connected to their employers when some otherwise would have exited the labor force to care for their newborns and increases the likelihood that they return to work within a year of giving birth [7], therefore, be it

RESOLVED that the Chicago Teachers Union supports a national paid parental leave policy of a minimum of twelve weeks for birthing and non-birthing parents; and

RESOLVED that the CTU will circulate an online petition and pressure the Mayor’s office and her appointed Board of Education to stop the disparate treatment of educators and ensure that we also receive the same parental leave benefits afforded to city workers on January 1st; and

RESOLVED the Chicago Teachers Union will organize other members and affiliates including the IFT and AFT to increase the amount of paid parental leave throughout the state of Illinois and the United States; and be it finally

RESOLVED the Chicago Teachers Union will support political candidates that support a minimum of twelve weeks of paid family leave for all parents.

References:

1.Mayor Lightfoot Announces Full Twelve Weeks of Paid Parental Leave for All City Employees. September 30, 2022.
2.Length of Maternity Leave Impact on Child Health Outcomes Pediatrics (2022) 149 (1 Meeting Abstracts February 2022):973.
3.Coombs, S. Paid Leave is Essential for Healthy Moms and Babies. (2021).
4.Schulte, B., et al., “Paid Family Leave: How Much Time is Enough?” New America, June 2017.
5.Romig, K., Bryant, K. A National Paid Leave Program Would Help Workers Families. (2021). Center on Budget and Policy Priorities.
6.Scott Brown et al., “Employee and Worksite Perspectives of the Family and Medical Leave Act: Results from the 2018 Surveys,” Abt Associates, July 2020.
7.Isaacs, J., et al., “Paid Family Leave in the United States: Time for a New National Policy,” Urban Institute, May 2017.