American families need a paid family & medical leave policy that checks ALL the boxes!
- Is accessible to all working people
- Offers meaningful length of leave – at least 12 weeks and covers the full range of personal medical and family caregiver needs established in the Family and Medical Leave Act
- Is affordable and cost-effective for workers, employers and the government
- Is inclusive when it comes to defining “family”; and
- Allows working people to take leave without facing adverse employment consequences.
I’m a mother of two – a three-year-old son and a three-week-old baby girl. I also help care for my 62-year-old mother, making me a member of the sandwich generation. Over the past several months, my family has experienced both the joy of a new birth and the stress of an elderly family member’s serious illness.In November, my mother had a stroke and had to have a brain tumor removed. I had to use some of the limited vacation and sick time I was saving for my baby to care for my mom. Now I have even less time to care for my newborn. My mom had been part of our childcare plan, but her illness has made that impossible. Because no childcare centers in my area accept infants under 6 weeks, my only option at this point will be to take my 5 week old daughter to work with me until we can figure something else out.I head back to work in two weeks. My husband and I will have no paid sick days or vacation days for the rest of the year. I don’t know what we’ll do if one of the kids or my mother gets sick.Without paid family and medical leave, many folks in my position will be forced to leave the workforce or face financial strain while they care for their parents or their children.
It is time to make paid leave a reality for everyone. Whether it’s to care for a newborn you swear already smiles, a mom who is ill, or a spouse battling cancer, being there for family is what matters. You shouldn't have to give up a paycheck, or risk losing your job,to do it.