FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Senate Passes First-Ever Expansion of Family & Medical Leave Act; Measure to Benefit Soldiers' Families is "Urgently Needed," Nation's Top Work/Family Expert Says
Statement of Debra L. Ness, President, National Partnership for Women & Families
WASHINGTON, DC — August 3, 2007 — "Last night, in an action that is urgently needed, the United States Senate passed an amendment to the provisions reauthorizing the State Children’s Health Insurance Program to extend unpaid family and medical leave for up to six months for the families of wounded military personnel. This measure can make a real difference for military families that have made great sacrifices and are under enormous stress.
We thank Senators Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-NY) and Christopher Dodd (D-CT) for sponsoring this bipartisan measure, and Senators Elizabeth Dole (R-NC), Lindsey Graham (R-SC), Barbara Mikulski (D-MD), Saxby Chambliss (R-GA), Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Ken Salazar (D-CO), Ben Cardin (D-MD), Robert Menendez (D-NJ), Edward Kennedy (D-MA), Barbara Boxer (D-CA), Jack Reed (D-RI), Patty Murray (D-WA), Tom Harkin (D-IA), Ben Nelson (D-NE) and Joe Lieberman (D-CT) for co-sponsoring it.
We urge the House to act quickly after the August recess to pass a similar bill, which is a key recommendation from the President's Commission on Care for America’s Returning Wounded Warriors. President Bush should sign it into law as soon as it reaches his desk.
We have long known that workers need job-protected time off when family members face serious health problems. It is most appropriate to extend that leave for families of service members injured in combat.
This would be the first-ever expansion of the 14-year-old Family & Medical Leave Act, but it should not be the last. Family and medical leave is important to all families facing serious health problems. Lawmakers should look to expand the unpaid leave this law provides, for returning service members and for all Americans."
The National Partnership for Women & Families 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.