We at A Better Balance have long recognized the need for paid leave policies that encapsulate a broad range of family structures and relationships, and have continually worked with local, state and federal campaigns to ensure that our laws allow workers to access the time they need to care for their loved ones regardless of legal or biological relationship. As part of these ongoing efforts, we are excited to announce the launch of This Is My Family, a national campaign we’re spearheading alongside Family Values @ Work and our partners in the Family Justice Network.
Today, more than 80 percent of American families are a blend of generations, extended relatives, and other loved ones – such as grandparents, stepparents, unmarried couples, aunts, uncles, siblings and close friends who live together – all bound by love, commitment and care. But, because of a lack of paid leave or employer policies that rely on a limited definition of family, millions of people are forced to choose between caring for loved ones and keeping their jobs.
This Is My Family aims to extend paid leave to families of all shapes and sizes and celebrate the diversity of family structures beyond the “nuclear family” (spouses and their children), elevating personal stories of those who have experienced this issue firsthand. “A nuclear family is one of many, many variations of what a family can be,” says Nicole, who shared her experience living with chronic health issues and needing her chosen family member, Sean, to care for her. Nicole highlighted the difference inclusive paid leave policies can make for families like hers: “With access to paid leave, there’s financial security that means we can continue to show up for each other.”
Visit the campaign website to learn more and add your story to this evolving tapestry of families. Together, we can help grow the movement toward expanding paid leave policies built on inclusive definitions of family. Because when families can care for each other, everyone benefits.