We are delighted that Sen. Gillibrand and Rep. DeLauro are re-introducing the FAMILY Act in Congress today, working to address the urgent need for a national paid leave policy.
“Twenty-four years ago, then-President Bill Clinton signed into law the Family and Medical Leave Act. It was a great step forward – for the first time, it established the principle that having a family shouldn’t cost you your job. But the law leaves out 40% of the workforce, and each year millions who are covered and need leave are unable to take it or return to work too soon, mostly because the time is unpaid.
“The FAMILY Act, a comprehensive and inclusive plan that would provide paid leave to those who need it, will address this gap and help our nation ensure that family values don’t end at the workplace door. The bill would establish a social insurance plan that makes care affordable and accessible for working people who need to welcome a new child through birth, adoption or foster care, or to tend to a personal or family member’s illness. By pooling small contributions from employers and employees, the program would ensure those needing leave can draw up to 12 weeks paid leave at 66% of their average monthly wage.
“The bill would apply to all working parents – regardless of sexual orientation and marital status. Even those who aren’t parents have parents or partners or other loved ones who may need care, or may themselves need time to heal, and these needs will also be covered. Such an approach recognizes the realities of families in America today and provides a solution that is essential to the well-being of individuals, families, businesses, and the nation.
“Family Values @ Work and its state and local coalitions have helped the paid leave movement surge across the country. California, New Jersey, and Rhode Island have had successful programs in place for some time. Last year saw two new wins, in New York and most recently Washington, D.C.. When these laws are fully implemented, 25 million people will have access to paid family and medical leave. State wins will continue to grow in the coming years. The victories in states, the people whose lives have been transformed, and the strong support from voters and policymakers alike are paving the way to a national program.
“We thank Rep. DeLauro and Sen. Gillibrand for their commitment to working families and our coalitions for their work. We urge Congress to pass the FAMILY Act to ensure no one has to choose between their health or the health of their family, and a paycheck.”