Another Victory for Working Families: Missouri Jobs with Justice Applauds St. Louis County’s Paid Parental Leave Policy

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July 19, 2022

St. Louis County – Missouri Jobs with Justice (MO JWJ) and our partners applaud the St. Louis County Council for adopting paid parental leave for county workers. With a majority 5-2 vote, all St. Louis County employees’ benefits now include 12 weeks of paid leave for primary caregivers, up to 80 hours paid time for prenatal appointments, and up to 80 hours paid time for infant wellness leave for first-year health care appointments. After hearing from working families about the difficulties of managing work and family obligations, MO JWJ and other organizations have been mobilizing in support of the policies at municipal and private sector employers.

“No matter what you do for a living, being there for those you love isn’t negotiable,” said Caitlyn Adams, Executive Director of Missouri Jobs with Justice. “For too long, working families have been forced to choose between bringing home a paycheck or being there for our loved ones. All working families should have the opportunity to be there for our families’ most important moments without risking bankruptcy or our livelihood.”

State pre-emption laws prevent our local leaders from enacting a stronger blanket policy for all workers. With recent policies, including St. Louis City and this example from St. Louis County, other employers may soon follow. 

“Employers who want to attract and retain the best employees should take note and adopt strong paid family leave policies,” said Nancy Bukovic, Board President of Women’s Foundation of Greater St. Louis.

“This policy has been long in the making and is good for workers, their families, their employers, and our community,” said John Bowman, President of the St. Louis County NAACP. “When a new child is born, the last thing we need is to worry about what our boss might think. This proposal will especially help Black and brown workers who are least likely to be able to afford unpaid time away from work for caregiving responsibilities.”  

“Paid leave brings equity to help Black moms and birthing people take much-needed time for health, wellness, and infant bonding without fear of lost wages,” said Lora Gulley, Director of Advocacy and Community Mobilization with Generate Health. We look forward to more municipalities and companies making this important investment.”

“These workers have kept our community running throughout the pandemic,” said Pat White, President of the St. Louis Labor Council. “We applaud County Executive Sam Page & Mayor Tishaura Jones for investing in the people who make up our neighborhoods and communities. Every worker deserves the security that paid family leave provides.”

“I would like to applaud Mayor Tishaura Jones and County Executive Sam Page for making paid family leave for city and county workers a reality,” said Mark Cavanah, Area Organizing Director & Administrator with AFSCME Local 410. “We need more leaders to step up and make this a reality across Missouri and eventually nationwide.”  

Through this pandemic, the need for robust paid leave policies has only become more evident. 

  • More than 600,000 Missouri workers do not have access to a single minute of paid time off to help an ailing family member, welcome a new child, or get the care we need to stay healthy 
  • 53 million Americans provided unpaid care in 2020, up from 43.5 million in 2015
  • Working families lose $20.6 billion in lost wages due to lack of paid leave – money that cannot be put back into our local economy.

We will continue to push our elected officials to invest in the people who make up our neighborhoods and communities. Today’s victory should inspire other municipalities and the private sector to adopt strong paid family leave policies. By coming together, we will build a Missouri where we all have what we need to live full, vibrant lives – no matter where we call home.

Grassroots organizations urging paid family and medical leave:

AAUW Metro St. Louis Interbranch Council

AAUW MO

A Better Balance

Advocates of Planned Parenthood of the St. Louis Region and Southwest Missouri 

American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, Missouri Section

Action St. Louis

AFSCME Local 410

Beyond Housing 

Child Day Care Association Of Saint Louis (United 4 Children)

Coalition of Black Trade Unionists – St. Louis Chapter 

Empower Missouri

Fathers and Families Support Center

Gateway to Hope 

Generate Health St. Louis

League of Women Voters of Metro St. Louis

Living with Purpose

Missouri Healthcare for All 

Missouri Jobs with Justice

National Council of Jewish Women 

National Partnership for Women and Families

National Women’s Political Caucus – MO

National Women’s Political Caucus – STL

Pro-Choice Missouri

Quinn Chapel AME Church

SkiWise Health and Wellness Services

St. Louis City NAACP 

Women’s Foundation of Greater St. Louis

Women’s Voices Raised for Social Justice