For Mother’s Day, Wisconsin needs FMLI

By Nancy Yarbrough-Mcthune
9to5 WI member and FMLI Warrior

Milwaukee, WI

Mother’s Day is around the corner. I cannot help but think of my own mother, her role in my life, and her role in my passion and life’s work.

Mother’s Day is also an opportunity to urge state legislators to actively push for a statewide Family Medical Leave Insurance or FMLI law. My reason is a heartfelt commitment to my mom, who passed away on January 17th 2014. She struggled through two heart attacks and countless strokes. This kept me and my family back and forth at her bedside, not knowing when we would have to say our final goodbye.

At the time I was working and was able to take time off under FMLA. I was not sure how this law worked because I was blessed not to have needed it before this incident. I would find out later, was not a benefit to ME because it was unpaid! During her illness I had taken many days off with pay by using accrued vacation time, sick time and PTO. I got the shock of  a lifetime learning that FMLA didn’t cover me with pay. I am grateful it allowed me to retain my job, but having to choose between staying with your mother and working to pay bills is a hard choice. These are hushed, last-minute choices, decided under stress and grief. It was a very hard time for me to decide between staying with the person who brought me into the world, nurtured me, cared for me and took care of me – or – go to work to pay my bills. REALLY!!!!

That is why I fully pledge to advocate, and educate people about family medical leave insurance, as a smarter solution for working families. Family medical leave insurance would have allowed me to be with my mother and receive a portion of my pay. So whenever permitted, I tell my story and the importance of sound policies that help working families just like me. I’m asking all to STAND with me on this very important issue.

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