The Connection Between Religious Freedom and Paid Family Leave
I got married this summer and my husband and I are beginning to consider the many factors involved in making a decision to start a family, including how we would care for a young child. Some questions we have begun to ask are about how our individual family choices are related to broader systems and structures. Things like: how will the current public policy landscape shape and impact our capacity to have a child and care for a child consistently with our values? What organizational practices and policies do our respective employers have toward supporting families in cycles of acute or ongoing caregiving? How can we contribute positively to the growing public perception of the challenges around work and parenting?
Public policy, employer practices, and public attitudes all play a role in creating an environment where all families, especially low-income families, can thrive. The Center for Public Justice’s Guideline on Family make clear that: “public support of families during times of childbearing and childrearing should be of particular concern.”
Yet CPJ’s guideline also recognizes that any approach to empowering families to thrive must reach beyond government “and take carefully into account the ways that other institutions and the dynamics of society impact families positively and negatively.”
While it may seem strange to now bring religious freedom into the conversation, it is actually a key part. How? What does religious freedom have to do with creating public policies, employer practices and public attitudes that will positively impact families in seasons of childbearing and childrearing?