Women’s Leader to Congress: 'Prioritize Women and Families by Supporting Paid Leave for All'

Statement of Debra L. Ness, President, National Partnership for Women & Families

“Lawmakers across the political spectrum, an increasing number of businesses and the vast majority of voters recognize that paid family and medical leave would benefit our nation’s workers and families, as well as businesses and the economy. Today, Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) and Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-Conn.) took a step toward making comprehensive, inclusive paid family and medical leave a reality for all working people by introducing the Family And Medical Insurance Leave (FAMILY) Act in the 116th Congress. We applaud Sen. Gillibrand and Rep. DeLauro, as well as the nearly 200 members of Congress — more than 160 in the House and 34 in the Senate — who join them as original co-sponsors of the bill.

The National Partnership for Women & Families, along with more than 600 advocacy organizations — both national groups and those representing 49 states and the District of Columbia — have called on all members of Congress to co-sponsor the FAMILY Act and for Congress to swiftly and thoroughly consider this legislation. We are eager for the House Committee on Ways and Means to hold hearings that focus on workers and businesses’ perspectives, states’ experiences with paid leave and the growing bodies of research showing the positive effects of paid leave on women and families, businesses and the economy. We want to see the FAMILY Act pass the House this year.

The FAMILY Act, modeled on successful state programs, is the only paid leave proposal before Congress that is structured to address the needs of working people. It would provide all workers, regardless of employer size, with up to 12 weeks of partial income when they take time to welcome a new child, care for a seriously ill loved one, address their own serious medical issue, or to address certain military caregiving needs. Under the FAMILY Act, a national paid leave program would be funded by small employer and employee contributions of two-tenths of 1 percent each (two cents per $10 in wages), or less than $2.00 per week for a typical worker.

Of course, paid family and medical leave is only one of the policies that will help to strengthen the economic security of women and families. Congress should also prioritize the Raise the Wage Act and Paycheck Fairness Act, both introduced last month. Members also should introduce and push for swift passage of legislation that would guarantee working people have access to paid sick days, fair and predictable schedules and protections from workplace harassment, including sexual harassment and pregnancy discrimination. Along with our allies, the National Partnership will hold lawmakers accountable to the bold, progressive action to promote women’s equality that voters are demanding.”

About the National Partnership

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

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