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Meghan Markle publishes open letter to US congress in support of maternity and paternity leave

Meghan has partnered with three national campaigns

Rebecca Lewis
Rebecca Lewis - Los Angeles
Los Angeles correspondentLos Angeles
20 October 2021
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The Duchess of Sussex has published an open letter to members of the United States Congress in support of a comprehensive paid leave program for new parents.

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Meghan, a mom-of-two, welcomed her daughter Lili in June and she revealed how "overwhelmed" she and husband Prince Harry were in the first few weeks.

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She also shared her concerns that the country does not yet have comprehensive paid leave for all parents, calling on Congress to agree that "if we are to continue to be exceptional, then we can’t be the exception".

The former actress wrote: "In June, my husband and I welcomed our second child. Like any parents, we were overjoyed. Like many parents, we were overwhelmed. Like fewer parents, we weren't confronted with the harsh reality of either spending those first few critical months with our baby or going back to work.

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"We knew we could take her home, and in that vital (and sacred) stage, devote any and everything to our kids and to our family. We knew that by doing so we wouldn't have to make impossible choices about childcare, work, and medical care that so many have to make every single day."

Meghan continued: "I'm writing to you on behalf of millions of American families who are using their voices to say that comprehensive paid leave should not be a place to compromise or negotiate.

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Paid Leave For All shared her letter

"In fact, most nations already have paid leave policies in place. Estonia, for example, offers over a year and a half of leave to be shared by new parents. Many other countries have robust programs that give months of time for both parents (birth or adoptive) to be home with their child.

"The United States, in stark contrast, does not federally guarantee any person a single day of paid leave. And fewer than one in four workers has dedicated paid family leave through their employer."

She concluded: "I know how politically charged things can—and have—become. But this isn't about Right or Left, it's about right or wrong. This is about putting families above politics.

meghan markle son

Meghan and Harry with their eldest son, Archie

"And for a refreshing change, it’s something we all seem to agree on. At a point when everything feels so divisive, let this be a shared goal that unites us.

"So, on behalf of my family, Archie and Lili and Harry, I thank you for considering this letter, and on behalf of all families, I ask you to ensure this consequential moment is not lost."

Meghan has partnered with three national campaigns - Paid Leave for All, Marshall Plan for Moms, and PL+US - on this effort.

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