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Urge your senators and representative to co-sponsor the ESP Family Leave Act

Education Support Professionals (ESPs) nurture students, transport them to and from school, prepare and serve healthy school meals, keep the school environment clean and safe, and perform other vital jobs in school communities. The ESP Family Leave Act (S. 2821/H.R. 5348), introduced last week by Senator Tammy Duckworth (D-IL) and Rep. Sean Casten (D-IL), would allow more hard-working ESPs to qualify for Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) benefits that allow them to care for themselves—or family members—without fear of losing their jobs when they are ready to return to them.

Under current law, FMLA allows certain eligible employees to take 12 weeks of unpaid leave for their own or a family member’s serious health condition, and up to 26 weeks for military-caregiver leave. To qualify for FMLA, the employee must work at least 1,250 hours in the 12 months prior to the leave. Some ESPs do not have a problem qualifying given the number of hours they work. Others have difficulty reaching the 1,250 threshold due to their schedules and the limited school year, but need FMLA in order to care for themselves or a family member.

Every ESP should have access to family and medical leave when they need it. The ESP Family Leave Act would give ESPs the respect and support they deserve—and need.


Email your senators and representative and urge them to co-sponsor the ESP Family Leave Act (S. 2821/H.R. 5348).

13 responses to “Urge your senators and representative to co-sponsor the ESP Family Leave Act

  1. Yes, All ESP’s definitely do need the FMLA Act Benifits! This Benefit is long over due and Now is the time!!
    Thanks so much for all of your support!!!

  2. Family Medical Leave should be a right of all workers! Our ESPs deserve much better. Please co-sponsor and support the ESP Family Leave Act.

  3. Educational oppression is another institutional relic has continued the “gaps” between the wealthy and poor. This is not an issue that should have to be fought for. It is a right!

  4. Families need to be strong to be able to take care of other children. Please sponsor the ESP Family Leave Act to help tehm.

  5. I urge you to support the Family Leave Act for ESP workers. They should have the same protections as others when they need it.

  6. Please co-sponsor the ESP Family Leave Act. Our support staff is the backbone of our public schools. Take care of those who take care of ours!!!!!!

  7. As a part time paraprofessional, most don’t qualify for FMLA and are more than likely the one to take care of another family member. I urge you to correct this miscarriage of justice.

  8. I have worked as a special education paraeducator for 18 years. I became a para because I am the mother of an adult child with developmental disabilities. I know firsthand the importance of having high-quality, educated, caring and compassionate paras! Unfortunately my district does not give paraeducators enough hours to qualify for FMLA. If my daughter, myself, my husband, or another family member get seriously ill, I would need to take a leave of absence and try to be able to pay for Cobra. Paras are low paid, hourly workers. Many of us live paycheck to paycheck. An unexpected medical crisis in my family would create a financial crisis as well. Please help protect paraeducators! Thank you!

  9. I am one of 40 members out of 320 members at a FED 4 intermediate district that works enough hours to be eligible for FMLA. My peers deserve to be eligible as well. We are the frontline and often are the ones injured and or the ones most likely to wear ourselves down and get sick. We have families, parents and loved ones that we too are responsible for and need to be able to care for ourselves and our families without fear of losing our positions/jobs.

  10. Every ESP has to have to get entry to family and scientific depart once they want it. The ESP Family Leave Act could deliver ESPs the honor and support they deserve—and want.
    Thank you.

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