29 Years After Congress Passed the Family and Medical Leave Act, Moms Call on Lawmakers to Pass Comprehensive, National Paid Leave Now
“Twenty-nine years after Congress passed the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), which provided unpaid leave to about 3 in 5 workers in this country, and in the 3rd year of a raging pandemic that has intensified the already-urgent need for paid leave, 50 Republicans and 1 Democrat are blocking U.S. Senate passage of the national paid leave program the country needs. America’s moms are tired of waiting.
“Because of this failure, every day people are forced to make an impossible choice between the income they need and the families they love because they have no paid leave. Many end up leaving the workforce earlier than they planned, causing or exacerbating worker shortages. Every day, employers lose valuable employees they could have retained. Because our country guarantees zero weeks of paid leave, too many parents are forced to go right back to their jobs after having babies or welcoming new children into their lives. Too many parents can’t hold their child’s hand during chemotherapy. Too many of us can’t help our loved ones adjust to rehab or memory care. Too many of us miss our baby’s first smile or our parent’s last breath.
“Moms are fed up with those in Congress who are playing politics with our lives and livelihoods. We want Congress to pass the Build Back Better Act so all workers can access paid leave, the expanded Child Tax Credit will continue, child care and prescription drug costs will be cut, home- and community-based services will be available to seniors and people with disabilities, immigrants will have protections that allow them to fully participate in the workforce, and we will create millions of good jobs for women. Our country will be healthier and more successful, our businesses and economy stronger, with a care infrastructure in place. The time to do that is now.”
-Statement of Ruth Martin, Senior Vice President and Chief Workplace Justice Officer, MomsRising
“For the vast majority of people in this country, getting sick, having a baby, or caring for a seriously ill child, spouse or parent can mean losing your job and your financial security. That has become even more the case during the pandemic, during which millions of women have been forced out of the labor force, in many cases because our nation has – so far – failed to adopt paid leave, like most other nation’s have already done, and because we have failed to make child care affordable. Black, Indigenous and women of color have experienced compounded economic and health harms from COVID-19.
“Our economy will never thrive if women are not fully represented in the workforce and women will never be fully represented unless we put in place a comprehensive paid family and medical leave program that covers all workers, addresses the range of caregiving needs families face, includes progressive wage replacement and job and non-discrimination protections, and is affordable and sustainable for both caregivers and businesses. Passage of the Build Back Better Act will finally put us on a path to the kind of paid leave program we need.
“Paid leave will help address the systemic race- and gender-based inequities that pervade our nation today. Almost three decades after the FMLA was passed, it’s well past time Congress adopt a comprehensive paid leave program so we can have a just recovery from the pandemic and so families, businesses and our economy can thrive.”
-Statement of Namatie Mansaray, Senior Director for Workplace Justice, MomsRising