Medical leave, Etica writes to the United States Congress

Medical leave for yourself and for family members: Etica is one of the co-signers of an engagement initiative addressed to the United States Congress to support a law that regulates so-called Paid Family and Medical Leave at a federal level.

The letter was signed by approximately 100 investors – including asset management companies, pension funds, state treasuries and asset managers – representing assets in excess of $1.6 trillion.

The signatories believe that a paid leave policy would help improve the United States economy and enhance functionality in the companies in which they hold shares.

Why take a stand on medical leave in the United States?

To date, medical leave for workers in the United States is regulated at an individual state level. According to ICCR data, medical leave today excludes about 80 percent of private sector workers, primarily those in low-paying jobs. Therefore, the lack of medical leave weighs disproportionately on women and ethnic minorities.

As it is currently structured, medical leave forces workers to make a difficult choice between taking care of their own health or that of family members and bringing home a pay cheque.

The letter also offers an interesting insight: the creation of a law on this issue could stimulate local GDP growth of approximately 5%.

Etica, why we signed up

The initiative is consistent with Etica’s engagement activities, in particular, in the area of labour dignity in relation to the Engagement Plan and with the project to carry out advocacy activities with States, regulators and standard-setters.

Finally, the letter is consistent with the theme of better managing risks to public and occupational health, in line with the content of the Investor Statement on Corporate Coronavirus Response, signed by Etica in 2020.

An ICCR network proposal

The initiative was proposed by ICCR (Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility), a network of investors of which Etica has been a member since 2005.

ICCR was founded in 1971 on the initiative of several American Protestant religious groups to enter into a dialogue with banks and companies in South Africa, which at the time was characterised by the presence of apartheid. The network, based in New York, now aims to influence corporate management strategies through investment and promote social justice at shareholder meetings.

You may also be interested