Dear members of Congress,
Everyday, families are faced with choices that put their loved ones at risk. Should they take unpaid leave and provide care for a seriously ill family member in crisis or earn a paycheck to keep food on the table? Should they be with an aging parent as they take their last breath or risk their economic security by taking unpaid time off. Should they be there to bond with and recover from the birth of a new baby, particularly as 1 in 4 moms have to go back to work within 2 weeks because we don’t have this critical program? Families are working tirelessly to provide for their loved ones but they need a federal structure to meet the demands of work and family.
Paid family and medical leave is one key solution for businesses, our economy, and families. In fact, not only does paid leave help families but it’s a critical tool for our country’s public health and economic recovery. Most low income workers do not have access to paid leave, in fact only 23 percent of the workforce has access to paid family leave through their employers and only 42 percent have personal medical leave through an employer provided short term disability program. Working families are in crisis and paid family and medical leave would help to alleviate the stress and turmoil many families are facing.
At nearly every stage of life, working people will need to take time off to recover from childbirth, bond with a new child, to care for a family member with a serious health condition, to deal with a family member’s military deployment or to care for their own serious illness. Paid family and medical leave provides families with peace of mind and the ability to maintain employment. It allows workers to heal, recover and be there for their loved ones in time of need.
It also allows businesses to thrive because a national program takes the burden of covering the time out of the labor force off the individual business alone.
Though several states have enacted successful paid family and medical leave laws, the United States is the only industrialized country that does not provide a national paid family and medical leave program. Workers and their families need both paid leave and medical leave, not providing this critical program puts families and our economy at risk.
Paid leave is vital to our long term stability, it provides support and benefits to working families, businesses and the economy. We ask that you pass a fully funded, robust and permanent paid family and medical leave program in the Build Back Better Act.