Black women call on Michigan legislators to strengthen family and medical leave policies
Black mothers and caregivers called Thursday on legislators to strengthen Michigan's family and medical leave policies.
They met ahead of the federal Family and Medical Leave Act's 30th anniversary on February 5.
The law offers limited unpaid family and medical leave. Employees at public agencies, some schools, and companies with 50 or more employees may be eligible.
However, the campaigners say many workers who need it still don't qualify — especially women of color.
Additionally, they underscored Michigan's lack of paid leave laws.
Uleana Thompson shared her experiences as a Black woman, mother, and small-business owner. She also has lupus.
"I'm often faced with financial hardship when I'm unable to work due to my sickness," said Thompson. "It stresses me to see my husband trying to figure out how to make up hours to bring in a stable income."
Thompson said families should be able to take the time to heal, without worrying about financial difficulties.
Mothering Justice, the Detroit organization that hosted the discussion, is working towards proposing paid-leave ballot initiatives in Michigan.
"We are grateful for such a policy providing leave for people with job protection," said Christina Hayes, the paid leave organizer at Mothering Justice. "But ... being unpaid is when the struggle comes in. And it feels unreachable for people."