Yesterday, in a press conference with families, unions, and advocates, Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro and Senator Kirsten Gillibrand introduced an updated version of the FAMILY Act, their bill to create a permanent, comprehensive paid family and medical leave program in the United States. This monumental legislation would ensure that every worker has access to paid leave to care for themselves or a loved one with a serious health condition. The bill’s improvements include guaranteeing nearly all workers their jobs back following leave, an expanded definition of “family,” a progressive wage replacement rate ensuring that the lowest-income workers can recover their paychecks, eliminating waiting periods, and extending the protection to workers who need safe leave from domestic or sexual violence.
In tandem, Senator Bernie Sanders reintroduced the Healthy Families Act, legislation ensuring all working people have access to paid sick days. Majority Leader Schumer and Senator Patty Murray also joined the event.
The United States is one of the only countries in the world without any form of federal paid leave for its people — and working families are paying the price. When we do pass paid leave, along with other basic care policies, it will yield millions of jobs, billions in wages, trillions in GDP. It will protect our public health. It will ensure far greater economic, racial, and gender equity. It will allow small businesses to compete and working families to thrive. This bill has been endorsed by nearly 70 national organizations, representing millions of workers, businesses, caregivers, labor leaders, patients, survivors, and advocates.
This comes on the heels of unprecedented media attention and grassroots action by paid leave advocates — a series of fly-in days, roundtables, briefings, actions, and meetings with both Congress and the White House. The Paid Leave for All campaign has continued to grow, adding millions of new members to the movement. Already this year, a bipartisan working group and a Dads Caucus both focused on paid leave launched for the first time, the President renewed his commitment to paid leave, and he backed that commitment up with executive action and the strongest budget proposal for a federal paid leave program in history. We came historically close to finally passing paid family and medical leave in this country, and together, we plan to grow that momentum until we finish the job and pass this bill.