National Partnership for Women & Families

Imperative for National Paid Leave Program is Urgent, But It Must Be Strong and Inclusive, Nation’s Paid Leave Leader Says

Statement of Debra L. Ness, President, National Partnership for Women & Families
WASHINGTON, D.C. — September 13, 2016 —


NOTE: This morning, the Donald J. Trump campaign issued a memo to select reporters that reportedly contains a series of policy proposals, including six weeks of paid maternity leave implemented through unemployment insurance and covering parents whose employers do not offer maternity leave. Details are expected during a speech this evening. The National Partnership has led the fight for family and medical leave in this country for 45 years; we drafted the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) and we lead diverse coalitions that are advocating for paid family and medical leave and paid sick days today.

“There is an urgent need for paid family and medical leave in this country, and we are encouraged every time a candidate recognizes this need.

But every proposal must be assessed. America urgently needs a national paid family and medical leave program that ensures that every worker has access to paid family and medical leave, no matter where they live or what job they hold. An effective national program must provide all working women and men at least 12 weeks of paid family and medical leave, with at least two-thirds wage replacement, to care for a new child, a seriously ill loved one, their own serious health condition or for certain military caregiving purposes. It should be applicable to both women and men so that it doesn’t reinforce old stereotypes about caregiving or impose additional hurdles for women in the workplace.

The Family And Medical Insurance Leave (FAMILY) Act, which has been introduced in both the House and Senate, is a sound program that meets these principles.

Today, women make up nearly half the U.S. workforce. Mothers are the primary or co-breadwinners in nearly two-thirds of families. Nearly nine in 10 workers (87 percent) are without access to paid family leave to care for a new child or a serious ill family member. More than 60 percent of workers do not have paid medical leave for their own serious health issues. Nearly 40 percent cannot even access unpaid, job protected leave for a serious family or medical issue through the FMLA. And 36 percent of private sector workers don’t have a single paid sick day. For low-wage workers, access to all these protections is even more elusive.

As a result, the economic stability and well-being of women and families suffer and our nation’s economic potential is unrealized. Fair and family friendly workplace policies would strengthen families, businesses and our economy, and reduce use of public assistance programs. The imperative to adopt a national paid leave program is urgent, but it must be strong, sound and inclusive.”

Contact

Sadie Kliner (202) 986-2600 skliner@nationalpartnership.org

The National Partnership for Women & Families is a nonprofit, nonpartisan advocacy group dedicated to promoting fairness in the workplace, access to quality health care and policies that help women and men meet the dual demands of work and family. More information is available at www.NationalPartnership.org.

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