This is our second Mother’s Day being celebrated during a pandemic. Though we are moving forward towards recovery, we cannot really progress as a nation without prioritizing what moms really want and need. The best Mother’s Day present would be a country that has policies which support and uplift moms!
We urge you to move forward the American Families Plan and the American Jobs Plan as soon as possible. There is no time to waste.
Decades of underinvestment in our care economy is what made the pandemic so disastrous for our communities. And it’s costing not only women, moms, and disproportionately women of color and their families, but our economy overall. For example, the risk of mothers leaving the labor force and reducing work hours in order to assume caretaking responsibilities amounts to $64.5 billion per year in lost wages and economic activity.
Solutions are possible. To create jobs, lift families, and boost our economy, the final federal recovery package must include:
- A comprehensive, federally funded child care system (which estimates show will require a $700 billion dollar investment) that ensures all families have access to high-quality, affordable child care that is available when and where they need it and invests in the education and compensation of a diverse workforce.
- Ensuring that all care workers, as well as every person in our nation, should be paid living wages of at least $15 per hour (and we should get rid of the harmful lower tipped minimum wage).
- Paid Family and Medical Leave that would ensure all working people have access to at least 12 weeks of paid leave to bond with a new child, address a personal or family related illness, or handle needs that arise from a military deployment.
- Invest $400 billion to Medicaid Home and Community-Based Services to create over one million union protected direct care jobs, expand access to home and community-based services to people with disabilities and aging adults, support unpaid family caregivers to re-join the labor force, and advance a path to citizenship for essential workers, Dreamers, and TPS holders.
President Biden’s American Families Plan and American Jobs Plan start tackling all of these policies -- and the moms, parents, caregivers, business owners, and people of America need Congress to move those plans forward quickly.
For many moms, this has been a year of no breaks. It has been a year of virtual learning, diaper changing on work calls, nonstop cooking, cleaning, figuring out unemployment, vaccine hunting for elderly parents, caring for sick family members, and more while being everything our kids and families needed us to be.
This Mother’s day, moms need more. We must catch up with the rest of the world and build a care infrastructure we all need including: universal childcare, paid family/medical leave, home-and community-based services, and living wages with a path to citizenship for all care workers. Doing this is both job enabling and job creating.
Now is the time to make these investments. The cost of inaction is too great. We hope you and your colleagues in Congress will prioritize these investments in the next recovery package.