31 Years After the Family and Medical Leave Act Became Law, Nation Urgently Needs Meaningful Paid Leave
“31 years ago today, Congress finally passed the Family and Medical Leave Act, guaranteeing unpaid, job protected leave for serious medical conditions and for family care when a new baby or child arrives or when a serious health crisis strikes to about three in five working people in the United States. That law has boosted moms, families, businesses, and our economy. But it was always intended as a first step and it’s time – past time – for Congress to build on it. The nation urgently needs a comprehensive paid family and medical leave program that covers every worker, no matter the size of their employer or if they are self-employed or work part-time.
“America’s moms applaud the bipartisan, bicameral congressional working group, the House Bipartisan Paid Family Leave Working Group, and other bipartisan efforts to advance meaningful paid leave. Sadly, the extension of the paid leave tax credit that U.S. Sens. Deb Fischer (R-NE) and Angus King (I-ME) are proposing will not suffice. Paid leave tax credits have rarely been used since they were adopted in 2017 and studies show they have not substantially expanded access to leave. Even with the proposed changes, they fall far short.
“The country needs a comprehensive, real paid family and medical leave program to boost our economy, ease our labor shortage, make it possible for moms and caregivers to stay in the workforce, increase families’ economic security, and lift businesses. A tax credit like the Fischer/King bill, that mostly benefits the wealthiest high-revenue firms, will not solve our nation’s problems – and it is not the universal coverage our country needs.”