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Resolutions & Amendments

28th International Convention - Los Angeles, CA (1988)

Family and Medical Leave

Resolution No. 165
28th International Convention
June 20-24, 1988
Los Angeles, CA


The United States is the only major industrialized country without a family leave policy. There is no federal law guaranteeing job protection to employees who must be away from work to care for a new born or newly adopted child, to care for a seriously ill child or parent or because of the employee's own illness. While some states have legislated in the area most have not, and most existing state statutes are not comprehensive either with respect to the type of leave provided or employers covered; and


Voluntary actions taken by employers have been inadequate to protect the majority of American workers. While most large private firms with over 1,000 employees offer pregnancy leave, only about half offer unpaid parental leave. Among smaller firms were 5 out of 6 workers are employed, only a small minority provide any parenting or medical leave and only one percent provide a comprehensive leave package; and


AFSCME affiliates have successfully negotiated parenting and medical leave throughout the public sector. A survey of 85 large AFSCME agreements covering 75Q,000 employees revealed that 84 percent of the employees covered in the sample or 635,000 workers have job guaranteed leave in their AFSCME contracts exceeding six month. Once negotiated parenting leave has presented no particular problems for employers either in terms of cost or disruption of operations; and


Nearly half of mothers with infants and over half of mothers with children under six are in the work force. Over half of the 46 million children in two parent families have both parents in the work force and twenty percent of children live in single parent households headed by women. Some 2.2 million workers are providing unpaid care for ailing, elderly relatives. These statistics show that American workers who are unprotected by job guaranteed leave risk their job security when their family responsibilities necessitate their missing work; and


Congress is considering legislation (H.R. 925 and S. 249) would provide unpaid job guaranteed family and medical leave for public and private sector employees.


That this 28th International convention urges Congress to pass legislation 1) guaranteeing job protection for all employees who are temporarily unable to work for medical reasons and 2) providing job protected leave for workers to care for new-born or newly adopted children or to care for seriously ill children or parents. AFSCME will continue to make this a priority legislative issues; and


AFSCME applauds the efforts of those states which have statutes providing for parenting or medical leave and urges all states to pass such legislation; and


That AFSCME urges affiliates wherever possible, to negotiate liberal leave policies so that no employee need choose between job and family obligations.



The International Executive Board