2014-2021 Press Releases
United Methodist Women Launches Paid Family and Medical Leave Campaign in Methodist Conferences Across the Country
United Methodist Women, the largest U.S.-based denominational network of lay women of faith, launched a nationwide paid family and medical leave campaign as it kicked off its annual Mission u events. The events will occur in more than 50 locations around the country from June through October 2019.
Mission u events are opportunities for fellowship, spiritual growth, education, and action. They are created to prepare participants to turn their faith, hope, and love into action on behalf of women, children, and youth. This year, Mission u participants will study United Methodist Women’s 150-year history, the Gospel of Mark and radical discipleship, and money from a faith perspective.
Each year, Mission u selects an action that all participants organize in support of. The Paid Family and Medical Leave Campaign have been selected as the 2019 Mission u action. Participants will write to their elected officials urging them to pass the bipartisan federal FAMILY Act.
“Everyone should be able to take time away from work to care for themselves, a sick child or loved one without fearing that their jobs are at risk,” said United Methodist Women Living Wage for All Campaign Lead Staff Carol Barton. “For United Methodist Women, advocating for the economic and social needs of women, youth, and children have always been a part of our history, driven by our faith and commitment to justice and full inclusion. Too many times, women and men are unable to take time off to care for a newborn, themselves, or loved ones when they are ill. They are forced to choose between a paycheck and their or their loved one’s health. We are organizing to help ensure that parents and caregivers aren’t penalized when they do what they have been called to do: to love and care for themselves, their children, and families.”
Working in partnership with Family Values @ Work, United Methodist Women is urging its members to organize in their states and at the national level for legislation that provides paid time off for family and medical leave.
Sophia Agtarap, dean of the Mission u in the Tennessee Conference of The United Methodist Church and a deaconess in the denomination, knows firsthand about the need for the Paid Family Leave Campaign.
“I started my position in July 2017, and my son was born in January 2018,” said Agtarap, director of communications at Vanderbilt Divinity School. “Because I’d switched from a part-time to a full-time position and hadn’t been in the full-time position for six months, I was ineligible for short-term disability or FMLA (Family Medical Leave Act). At the time, I had only accrued two weeks of paid vacation time. I am married and also had a supportive boss. I can only imagine what it must be like to be a new mom, away from family – or without the support of family – and not have access to paid leave and yet still need to support a newborn while worrying about rent, bills, and the expenses of a new baby. Paid parental leave is an issue of equity and access. Living in one of the most developed countries and not having paid parental leave is criminal. Had I not been married or had a supportive boss, I would have had to come back to work two weeks after giving birth. This sets up families for a disaster.”
United Methodist Women is a movement of women turning their faith, hope, and love into action on behalf of women, children, and youth since 1869. Members’ financial gifts support ministries and programs empowering women, children, and youth in the United States and more than 100 countries around the world.
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