National Partnership for Women & Families

Written Testimony of Debra Ness -- Subcommittee on Workforce Protections

National Partnership President testifies on the importance of the Family & Medical Leave Act and the need for expansion
Washington, D.C. — April 10, 2008 —
Good Morning, I am President of the National Partnership for Women & Families, a non-profit, non-partisan advocacy group dedicated to promoting fairness in the workplace, access to quality health care, and policies that help workers in the United States meet the dual responsibilities of work and family.

The National Partnership for Women & Families leads a broad, diverse coalition of more than 200 groups dedicated to defending and expanding the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) on behalf of workers across the country. The coalition reaches across a wide spectrum of concerned citizens and includes religious, women’s, seniors, veterans, and disability groups.

Our leadership of this coalition is a natural extension of our original role as drafter of the FMLA and leader of the broad-based coalition advocating for its passage.

I am especially pleased to be here today because this year marks the 15th anniversary of the FMLA. Its passage was a watershed moment for government support of working families in the United States. The law guarantees eligible workers up to twelve weeks of unpaid leave each year to care for immediate family members or to address serious personal health concerns. By making job-protected leave available to all eligible workers, and requiring that health insurance continue through the leave, the law has enabled both women and men to meet their responsibilities for their families without sacrificing their jobs and long-term economic stability. The law also helps combat gender discrimination and pernicious stereotypes about gender roles because both male and female workers can take FMLA leave. The law helps to ensure that women are not penalized or unfairly denied job opportunities simply because of assumptions about their family care giving responsibilities. More »

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

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