Dear members of Congress,
The end of summer is typically a time of preparation for many families returning to work after vacations and excitement for many children who are set to return to school or enter a classroom for the first time in their lives. Families are usually filled with expectations and anticipation, but this year is very different.
As we get closer to fall, millions of moms and their families are preparing for the start of the school year but instead of being filled with joy they are faced with uncertainty, challenges and trepidation. It shouldn’t be this way. Families should feel prepared to send their children back to school, and one way that can happen is by providing working families with paid family and medical leave!
This policy isn’t just the right thing to do, it’s the economically smart thing to do: A recent study found that finally building a care infrastructure, including paid leave, would lift our country’s long-term real GDP growth by 10-15 basis points. (Of note: Most other industrialized nations take this policy for granted, so not having this policy in place not only harms our economy, it also hurts our international competitiveness as Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell recently pointed out).
Passing a permanent and comprehensive paid leave for all program in the budget as soon as possible will allow families to be able to be there when a new child arrives, to recover from birth, or to bond; as well as to recover from a serious health condition, or provide care for a seriously ill family member, or from needs arising from a family member's military deployment. And despite strong support among voters of all political parties, the United States still does not have a national paid leave program. In fact, only 19 percent of workers have access to paid family leave. This is unacceptable. Paid leave is critical for families, it benefits children and it is vital for women, especially Black, and Latinx women.
We must invest in our children and families, our businesses and our economy, by providing workplace policies that provide the support they need. All workers should be able to be there in critical life moments -- from the welcoming of a new child to a serious illness -- without sacrificing their economic stability. Paid family and medical leave is an investment in families, businesses and the economy.