Christian Group Pushes for Paid Family Leave as Senate Haggles Over How to Pay for It

A right-of-center Christian group is calling on employers and policy makers to support family leave programs.

The Center for Public Justice, a Christian civic education and public policy organization that seeks to help citizens and public officeholders respond to God’s call to do justice, released a report Tuesday in support of paid family leave as Senate Republicans and Democrats haggle over how to pay for it.

In their report called Time to Flourish: Protecting Families’ Time for Work and Care, the CPJ examines the pressures on family time as it relates to employment and seasons of caregiving.

In addition to urging policy-makers to develop a system of paid family leave so that all workers can attend to seasons of family responsibility, the report recommends that workplaces and public policy alike should protect workers’ time to care for family members.

Workplaces, especially faith-based organizations, were also urged to align family-supportive values and workplace practices.

“Today, American families and the institution of the family are under tremendous stress. Family stress includes the struggle to secure family time together, be it after the birth of a child or the ordinary routines of homework and dinnertime. A fast-paced, 24-hour economy enables work at all times of the day or night. Some parents or caretakers worry that they cannot take time off without risking their job or financial stability. These pressures cut into crucial family time together,” the report says.

“God did not intend work and family to exist in conflict, but rather to complement one another. God calls humans to both family life and work. Families nurture and manifest the image of God in each person. They provide a critical foundation for a healthy society, raising the next generation of citizens, workers and family members. Work, though also an arena of image bearing, should not absorb the whole of life. God placed limits on work by setting apart the seventh day of creation for rest. Likewise, Christians honor God and make time for family, community and rest by observing the Sabbath and by recognizing the distinct seasons, rhythms and times in human life,” the report further notes.

Rachel Anderson, resident fellow with the Center for Public Justice and a co-author of the report along with Katelyn Beaty, former managing editor of Christianity Today magazine said in a release that: “Everyone knows someone who has experienced challenges navigating the boundaries of family time with the dignity of work but so often those conversations happen among family and friends, in the context of expressing worry for a loved one’s health, sheer exhaustion or fear of losing a job. We wanted to raise these issues in a larger, faith-based framework.”

Stephanie Summers CPJ CEO said: “We believe Christians are called to steward their citizenship in order to shape policies, and cultural norms that honor and protect the family as a socially foundational institution. This report is for Christians who acknowledge that they have a role in advancing the flourishing of families, and offers them a framework so they can take action.”

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Source: Christian Post