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Statement of Support: Paid sick leave helps children, families and the economy

Kathy Reincke, 269-969-2148

BATTLE CREEK, Mich. – For all working parents and caregivers of children and families, paid leave is a big win. Leaders in business, education, health care and many organizations that support paid sick leave have learned it’s also good for the health, education and economic well-being of our children, families and economy. It’s time to ensure all working families have the supports they need to care for their children and families.

At the W.K. Kellogg Foundation (WKKF), children are at the center of our work and we seek to reduce their vulnerability caused by poverty and racial inequity. We know that paid leave for parents and families is critical, but unfortunately, all families have not fared equally from the changed economic condition post-recession. Some families continue to struggle in lower-wage jobs, which often don’t have these benefits. We believe that if all workers have a fair chance to advance and succeed in the workplace, with the support and flexibility to enable them to care for themselves and give their children a strong start, we can strengthen more families and, in turn, the U.S. economy.

Many low-income parents and families who are faced with illness or tragedy face uncertain circumstances and lack the flexibility needed to adequately meet the needs of their children.  Parents facing sickness deserve the ability to care for their children and families without financial repercussions. WKKF and many of our grantees recognize the economic benefits of a more productive, healthy workforce and have long supported movements in this direction in cities and states across the U.S. and within sovereign tribes. In New Mexico, several tribal governments offer paid leave. In states like Michigan and others, there’s lots of community interest and conversations with elected officials happening.

Adequate paid leave policies provide parents and families with the support they need to take care of their sick children, keep our workforce and students productive and healthy, and ensure that we minimize the risks the most vulnerable people in our communities face when exposed to contagious illness.

Yesterday, in an effort to strengthen America’s families and the well-being of children, President Barack Obama called on business and employers to modernize paid leave policies to benefit all working families. WKKF and our grantee partners will continue to work to develop community-led solutions to ensure all children have the supports they need, where they live. Keeping the needs of children at the center of public policy is a critical step to ensure that all children thrive.

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 About the W.K. Kellogg Foundation
The W.K. Kellogg Foundation (WKKF), founded in 1930 as an independent, private foundation by breakfast cereal pioneer, Will Keith Kellogg, is among the largest philanthropic foundations in the United States. Guided by the belief that all children should have an equal opportunity to thrive, WKKF works with communities to create conditions for vulnerable children so they can realize their full potential in school, work and life.

The Kellogg Foundation is based in Battle Creek, Michigan, and works throughout the United States and internationally, as well as with sovereign tribes. Special emphasis is paid to priority places where there are high concentrations of poverty and where children face significant barriers to success. WKKF priority places in the U.S. are in Michigan, Mississippi, New Mexico and New Orleans; and internationally, are in Mexico and Haiti.

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