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State Lawmakers and Faith Leaders Unite to Support Paid Family Leave Legislation


February 24, 2021


Michelle Nealy, mnealy@faithinpubliclife.org, (202) 735-7123

William Miller, wmiller@mercuryllc.com, (786) 301-8049

Joey McKinnon, jmckinnon@faithinpubliclife.org, (843) 364-4403

State Lawmakers and Faith Leaders Unite to Support Paid Family Leave Legislation

Tallahassee, Fla. – On Wednesday, February 24th, State Senator Janet Cruz and State Representatives Angie Nixon and Felicia Robinson announced the filing of paid family leave companion bills for this upcoming legislative session. The Florida Family and Medical Leave Act (SB 1596 and HB 1245) and Family and Medical Leave Insurance Benefits Fund (SB 1586 and HB 1247) would require Florida employers to create provisions to allow parents to take paid family leave to bond with a new child upon the child’s birth, adoption or foster care placement. 

With COVID-19 exposing the critical gaps in childcare that working families face, advocates in faith communities across the state, who often serve as a backstop for working parents and families in need during the arrival of a new family member, applaud this legislation.

Senator Janet Cruz, Florida Senate District 18:

“Our working families are the backbone of our state’s economy and we have neglected them for far too long. Passing legislation to ensure paid family and medical leave for Floridians will result in increased morale, improved economic outcomes, and more successful work environments throughout our state.”

Rep. Angie Nixon, Florida House of Representatives District 14:

“Thirteen years ago, as a single working mom, I was faced with the tough decision that too many working parents face. I had to leave a sickly newborn at home while I returned to work to keep a roof over our heads. This left me lacking the opportunity to bond and care for her the way in which I needed to, creating stress on us both. Although things turned out fine for us, I have met countless mothers where it didn’t–mothers that faced depression or lost their jobs in order to care for their child. This is a decision working parents shouldn’t have to make and why we must pass paid family leave.”

Rep. Felicia Robinson, Florida House of Representatives District 102:

“Family comes first, no matter what you do for a living. Our workplaces and our laws need to respect that. Whether for the birth of a child, for an adoption or the arrival of a foster child, parents need time to bond with their new children. In Florida, even unpaid leave under the Federal Family and Medical Leave Act is inaccessible for 63% of working people. Nationwide, 1 in 4 women return to work less than two weeks after giving birth because of lack of paid leave. We need legal protections that allow working parents and their children to spend time face to face.”

Rev. Tom Holdcraft, St. Stephen Lutheran Church (Tallahassee):

“Having to choose between your newborn and your paycheck is an impossible, immoral choice, but it’s reality for too many working families. It’s one that I have faced as well as many in the pews. The bills providing paid family leave like the ones proposed today would give working parents time to bond and develop in their important parent and child relationship.”


Faith in Public Life is a national movement of clergy and faith leaders united in the prophetic pursuit of justice, equality and the common good. Together, with a network of over 50,000 leaders, they are leading the fight to advance just policies at the state and federal level that affirms our values and the human dignity of all.

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