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Paid Family Leave Act focus of online Call to Action event; public invited

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The nonpartisan Bucks County Women’s Advocacy Coalition (BCWAC) will hold its annual Call to Action event online via a Zoom Conference from 7 to 8:15 p.m. May 20.

The free public event requires online registration at https://bcwac.salsalabs.org/calltoactionannualmeeting2020/index.html.

Panelists Marianne Bellesorte of Pathways PA, Kristen Farry of Woods Services, Kathy Bennett of the Bucks County Area Agency on Aging and Jim Bishop, CEO of The Cornerstone Clubs in Bucks County will discuss their support for the Family Care Act (SB580 and HB1739).

Each will speak for five minutes before the event is opened for questions. Sen. Maria Collett and Rep. Wendi Thomas, the bill’s prime sponsors in Harrisburg, are expected to participate.

Sponsored by AARP-Pennsylvania, the event, will be livestreamed on Facebook.

“Although paid family leave insurance would cover all workers, it is especially needed by women if they are to participate fully in the economy,” said BCWAC’s newly elected president Marcia Telthorster.

“State lawmakers are considering bills that would provide compensation to workers who must take leave to care for another, funded by a small payroll tax. Our aim is to create more public awareness around bipartisan bills HB1739 and SB580 that would create this fund in Pennsylvania.”

BCWAC President Emerita Tam St. Claire said the need for paid family leave, which already exists in seven states, has been made more obvious during this pandemic.

“When your income is necessary to pay your family’s bills, an unexpected family caregiving or medical crisis can cause difficult and stressful choices,” she said. “If your employer cannot offer paid leave, where do you turn for help when your child needs surgery, your partner becomes temporally disabled, or your aging parent falls ill?”

Following the panel discussion, BCWAC partners, elected officials, and other citizens will be able to ask questions about opportunities to work together to support and improve the lives of women and families at the local, state and federal levels. The conversation will build on a panel discussion featuring the experiences of the clients of some of the organizational partners to highlight issues of economic security women face in their paid and unpaid work.

BCWAC encourages those with interest in this topic to view the 90-minute documentary, “Zero Weeks,” which focuses on the need for paid family leave. It is available for $4.99 on iTunes.

For information about the coalition, visit bcwac.org.

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