Today, December 12th, is the anniversary of the introduction of the FAMILY Act (a paid family leave insurance program). This is an important anniversary to mark because right now only 13% of U.S. workers--and only 5% of low-wage workers--have access to paid leave. We need better workplace policies that keep people in the jobs they need and help grow the economy - and access to paid family and medical leave does just that.
Introduced for the first time four years ago, the FAMILY (Family and Medical Insurance Leave) Act is an insurance program that would provide workers—including those who are self-employed and/or work part time—with much-needed income while they, or a family member, deal with the arrival of a new baby or a serious health issue. Eligible employees could take up to 60 workdays (12 weeks) away from their job with partial wage replacement (up to 66% of their typical wages) to take care of themselves or a family member in a one-year period. The new, self-sustaining fund would be created through very small, shared costs to employees and employers. Employees and employers would contribute two cents for every $10 in wages. Self-employed and part-time employees would earn paid family and medical leave as well.
The fact of the matter is that no one should have to choose between caring for a loved one and a job!
And the good news is that there is growing momentum across the country for paid family leave. In fact, nearly every other week we’re hearing about how more and more companies are expanding or implementing paid leave policies and a growing number of municipalities are passing paid family leave legislation.
Each of these wins is an important step forward AND an important reminder that in order for the United States to get the biggest benefit, we need a national minimum standard, a robust paid family and medical leave policy that is accessible to all working people, offers meaningful length of leave – at least 12 weeks, covers the full range of personal medical and family caregiver needs established in the Family and Medical Leave Act, affordable and cost-effective for workers, employers and the government; inclusive when it comes to defining “family”; and, allows working people to take leave without facing adverse employment consequences.
We’re marking this anniversary by asking our MomsRising members to share their experiences needing paid family leave with us. Tell us why a comprehensive paid family and medical leave is important to you. You can share your story at moms.ly/pflstories.
Let’s 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 to do it.