Top 10 Reasons to Support Paid Leave

National Partnership Staff

October 26, 2021 | Paid Leave

Enacting a paid family and medical leave policy as part of the Build Back Better package is critical to closing the longstanding systemic inequities that impact women and people of color. Paid leave ensures workers can take time off without missing a paycheck or risking their job.

1. Millions of U.S. workers lack access to paid leave. Only 23 percent of private-sector workers have access to paid leave through an employer.

2. People of color are hit hardest by the lack of a nationwide policy. People of color often lack access to paid leave which leads to devastating health and financial outcomes. Half of Latinx workers report not having access to paid time off, compared to 34 percent of White workers.

3. Paid leave provides a critical financial lifeline to low and middle workers. The average worker who takes four weeks of paid leave would receive almost $2,200 from the program, enough to cover almost two months of rent or over three months of food, according to the recent brief.

4. Our economy benefits when women can balance caregiving and work responsibilities. Women’s labor force decline costs the U.S. economy $650 billion annually and supportive care policies like paid leave and child care would help keep women connected to the workforce. Moreover, with four weeks of paid leave, it’s estimated that 6 million more caregivers will be in the workforce by 2030, according to a new analysis.

5. Workers need family and medical leave to care for loved ones when the unexpected happens. One-fifth of adults provide care to adult family members or disabled children, and they need to be able to take time off work without missing a paycheck or losing their job.

6. The majority of Americans support paid leave.A recent CBS/YouGov poll found that 73 percent of Americans support federal funding for paid family and medical leave.

7. Businesses support paid leave. Businesses - small and large - have urged Congress to enact a nationwide paid leave policy.

8. Enacting paid leave benefits workers, families businesses, public health and our communities. Ten states, including the District of Columbia have enacted paid family and medical leave benefits. In states that have enacted the policy, businesses report seeing increased productivity, improved employee morale and retention and smaller businesses are more competitive with larger businesses.

9. The U.S. is a global outlier. The U.S. is one of eight countries in the world that do not provide its workers guaranteed access to paid leave.

10. Paid leave isn’t just a women’s issue, men need it too. When women and men have equal access to paid leave it encourages gender equality in the workplace and at home and promotes children’s well-being.

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