Monday, December 26, 2011

Paid Family and Medical Leave Act Needs More Outreach Program

Not long time ago, California passed into law the Paid Family and Medical Leave Act. This made California the first US state to make family and medical leaves paid and available to almost every private worker. Everybody anticipated that this pioneering legalization would provide access to paid leave for family care giving and illness for large sectors of the employment industry – most specifically the minimum wage earners since they usually have little or no access to paid family or medical leaves.

A recent study conducted by both the Center for Economic and Policy Research (CEPR) and the City University of New York (CUNY) showed that 43 percent or nearly half of California workers had seen, read or heard about the Paid Leave (PFL) Program. It is a significant improvement from the 30 percent who knew about the PFL in a 2003 survey.

The increase of awareness over the past years appears to be overwhelming, especially among women. This is probably a result of the federal government providing notice to new mothers about the said program.

However, it is noticeable that the awareness for the said program is lowest among the workers who need it most – particularly those with lower wages or less-educated workers.

The poll results absolutely showed that there is a dire need for more outreach programs that needs to be established to inform the public about one of their best privileges that they have been missing. A good way to do so is to make advertisements just like what other government agencies are doing to educate the people.

As means to reach out to workers, the federal government plans to provide doctors with brochures that will help explain the information they need about the paid Family and Medical Leave Act. The brochures are displayed in their offices or clinics to help the government spread the good news to people from all walks of life.

Due to lack of outreach programs about this new law, the modified Family and Medical Leave Act done by the government in favor of the workers seem to lose its significant value. Apparently, all efforts in passing the said bill are being wasted due to the public’s lack of awareness.