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Office of the Press Secretary

For Immediate Release November 30, 1999
                           AMERICA'S PARENTS
                           November 30, 1999

"On the eve of the 21st century, we ought to set a goal that all working Americans can take time when they need it to care for their families without losing the income they need to support their families. Achieving that goal cannot come overnight and will require a significant shift in how our nation helps families to succeed at home and work. But it can make all the difference in your lives. It will demand thought and creativity, a willingness to experiment; it has to be done in a way that gives families flexibility and doesn't undermine our dynamic and growing economy."

--President Clinton, May 24, 1999

Today, President Clinton will announce a new rule that empowers states to develop ways of offering paid leave to parents following the birth or adoption of a child. Specifically, the proposed regulation will allow states to use their unemployment compensation systems to help offer paid leave to new parents. This innovative step builds on the President's longstanding efforts to support America's parents and strengthen America's working families.

MAKING PARENTAL LEAVE MORE AFFORDABLE. A 1996 study by the Commission on Family and Medical Leave found that the most significant reason why parents did not take advantage of unpaid leave after the birth or adoption of a child was the expected loss of income. Today, President Clinton will announce proposed regulations that will enable new parents, through the unemployment insurance system, to take leave without sacrificing the wages their families need. The rules respond to the President's Executive Memorandum of May 24, 1999, directing the Secretary of Labor to allow states the opportunity to experiment.

ENCOURAGING STATES TO CREATE MORE OPTIONS. Several states have asked the Administration whether they could have the authority to adapt their unemployment compensation systems for this purpose. This pilot program will be wholly voluntary for states, and states will have considerable flexibility in designing their own programs. The regulations will be published in the Federal Register for public comment and are also available for review on the Department of Labor's website at

HELPING PARENTS BALANCE RESPONSIBILITIES AT HOME AND AT WORK. Throughout his Administration, President Clinton has fought to provide families with the tools they need to meet their responsibilities both at home and at work. The President has:

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