The Time for Comprehensive Paid Leave Is Now; Congress Must Pass the FAMILY Act This Year
“Among the lessons from the pandemic is that our country will be stronger and healthier, our businesses and economy stronger, if we put in place a permanent, comprehensive paid leave program. During the pandemic, emergency paid leave has improved the public health, staved off the spread of contagion, and saved lives. The same will be true when the pandemic ends. Congress must pass the FAMILY (Family and Medical Insurance Leave) Act this year, so working people will be able to care for their families and maintain their health without risking their jobs or economic security. Introduced today by Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-Conn.) and Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-New York), the FAMILY Act covers all workers, addresses the range of caregiving needs families face, and is affordable and sustainable for both caregivers and businesses. It is vitally important legislation that will especially help moms of color, who are bearing the brunt of the economic devastation the pandemic has brought. America’s moms are counting on Congress to pass it, and President Biden to sign it into law, this year.”
-Statement of Ruth Martin, Vice President and Chief Workplace Justice Officer, MomsRising
“Paid leave is an issue of paramount importance to MomsRising members and to working moms and families across the country. Right now, only 20 percent of working people in this nation have paid leave through their employer. For the rest of us, getting sick, having a baby, or caring for a seriously ill child, spouse or parent can mean losing your job and your financial security.
“Week after week in the pandemic, jobs reports show that Black women and Latinas are losing their jobs and moms are being forced to leave the labor force in the face of virtual schooling, dwindling child care options, and lack of paid sick days and paid family leave. The number of women in the workforce is plunging and even more women and women of color are working part-time because they cannot find full-time jobs. Our economy will never thrive if women are not fully represented in the workforce and we cannot be fully represented without a strong paid leave program. It has always been true that people cannot quarantine when they’ve been exposed to illness, or stay home when they have symptoms, if doing so will cause them to lose the income they need to feed and house their families. That will remain so when the pandemic ends because families have babies, children get cancer, spouses have car accidents, parents struggle with dementia, and more. We all need paid leave to cope with the joys and heartaches life brings – to be there when a baby smiles for the first time or a parent takes her last breath. The FAMILY Act is modeled after proven, successful state paid leave programs. It will be self-sustaining and will leave none of us behind. Today’s introduction is the first step, but America needs both the House and Senate to pass the FAMILY Act right away.”
-Statement of Kristin Rowe-Finkbeiner, Executive Director and CEO, MomsRising