Press contact: Laura Brandon, firstname.lastname@example.org, 202-641-8477
After learning that President Obama was poised to announce a series of moves in support of paid sick days and family and medical leave insurance programs, Ellen Bravo, executive director of Family Values @ Work, released the following statement.
“We applaud the President for hearing the voices of families across the country and making this historic call for policies that families need to succeed as providers and as caretakers for their loved ones.
“Too many families in this country are living at the edge of financial crisis. Working people are being forced to send their kids to school sick, leave their parents at the hospital to heal alone or fall into bankruptcy when they have a baby because they don’t have paid sick days and paid family leave.
“This announcement marks a major victory for millions of working families across the country who too often have to choose between the family they love and the job they need. These issues are at the core of families’ financial stability and the health of our economy. After a year of historic wins on work-family issues like paid sick days and paid family leave, President Obama has taken up the torch of so many workers, business owners, advocates and families in our network who have been fighting for these basic workplace protections for years.
“We must continue to fight to ensure every worker in the United States has access to paid sick days and paid family leave when they need it, as we seek to go from the era of Mad Men to the era of strong families.
“The President’s proposals for relief for working families are something that all elected officials should be able to get behind. Their constituents certainly are.”
Family Values @ Work members in all 21 states in our network sent letters to the President asking him to take the very steps he is officially announcing on January 15 and in his State of the Union address. As Stephanie in Rochester, NY, put it, “Life did not stop because we had a critically ill child. Bills kept coming in.” The letters included statements from business owners like Lisa Goodbee in Colorado, who wrote, “I’ve had employees with cancer and ailing parents and children; they have never had to choose between their careers and their health.” And they came as well from workers who are experiencing what a paid sick days mean – like Erin in Portland who wrote, “I woke up barely able to move and was in so much pain that I knew I couldn’t go to work. After a few minutes of stress and panic I realized that I had paid sick days!”
After years of fighting for paid sick days and paid family leave nationally and in cities and states from Seattle to Orlando, from California to Massachusetts, 2014 marked a historic year of wins for the Family Values @ Work network, including a sweep of ballot measures in the midterms. Currently, three states and 15 cities have passed paid sick days laws, and three states have paid family and medical leave programs.
Family Values @ Work is a network of coalitions in 21 states fighting for policies that help Americans be good providers and good caregivers.