FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Work/Family Expert Hails Senate Appropriations Committee Vote To Provide $10 Million to Help States Begin Paid Leave Programs
Statement of Debra L. Ness, President, National Partnership for Women & Families
WASHINGTON, D.C. — July 30, 2010 — "Right now in the United States, millions of families risk their economic stability and security when they need to care for new babies or sick family members. That may finally begin to change, now that the Senate Appropriations Committee has voted to provide $10 million for competitive grants to help states pay for paid leave programs. This is a welcome and much-needed first step in bringing our nation’s outdated leave policies into the modern era — a down payment on the work/family policies that hard-working Americans want and deserve.
The Paid Leave Fund this appropriation will support can begin driving innovations that bring us closer to the day when no worker has to make a painful choice between caring for family and earning a paycheck. The National Partnership for Women & Families has promoted this initiative for many years because we know that this start-up money makes it more likely that states will be able to create paid leave programs.
President Obama recommended $50 million for the Paid Leave Fund in his FY 2011 budget proposal. We would still like to see Congress fund it at that amount, but $10 million is a good start. We urge the full Senate to maintain or increase this appropriation, and to prioritize it when the legislation is considered in conference with the House.
We also thank the Senate Appropriations Committee for increasing funding levels for some health programs, for allocating $40 million for medical home demonstration projects and for prioritizing the prevention of chronic diseases. These measures can help advance the patient-centered, coordinated care that will help the nation realize the promise of reform."
The National Partnership for Women & Families drafted and led the fight to pass the Family & Medical Leave Act. It is a non-profit, non-partisan 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.