The most exciting thing about our work at Denny Civic Solutions is the sheer breadth and depth of the issues we get involved with. Every day is a learning experience for us.

Through the work of our incredible roster of clients, we’ve helped teenagers with disabilities get work and premature infants get donated human milk. We’ve worked to connect manufacturers and makersfound common ground for energy companies and environmental groupspromoted groundbreaking research on traumatic brain injuries, and helped survivors of sexual assault begin to heal.

Yet if there is one thing we have learned from all of these different efforts, it is that almost all the issues we work on (from healthcare, to jobs, to building a better future) are connected by a common thread — family.

And now, we’re proud to announce that we are beginning work on an issue that has received significant public attention in the past year: paid family leave.

We have had unpaid family leave policies in place since 1993 (through the Family and Medical Leave Act).  This allows for 12 weeks of unpaid leave and job protection during any 12-month period for (a) a serious health condition for the employee or a parent, spouse, or child; (b) pregnancy or care of a newborn child; or (c) for adoption or foster care of a child.   Today, many private companies – like Lowes, Starbucks, Amazon, JP Morgan, and Walmart – offer some level of paid leave for new parents.

Now, five states, including our neighbors New York and New Jersey, provide paid family leave for their residents.   Here in Pennsylvania, the Department of Labor and Industry just completed a study on what paid family leave in PA could look like.   This would include leave for new parents, care for yourself or an elderly parent, or for a child in need of long term care.   The study also highlights the benefits to employers, as well as middle- and low-income employees.  The study proposes an insurance-style approach, wherein all workers would pay a small percentage of their paycheck to an insurance fund.

And while all of this is still in the very, very early stages of consideration, we want to know what you think.  Should we or should we not have some sort of family leave insurance?   Should we leave it up to employers (knowing that some will enact their own policies and some won’t)?  Do you think paid family leave could help with retaining good employees in industries already facing workforce shortages?

You can tell us what you think on our DCS Facebook page — we’re all ears.