Cassidy-Sinema Bill Does Not Address the Realities Working People Face

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

“The Advancing Support for Working Families Act, introduced today by Sens. Bill Cassidy and Kyrsten Sinema and Reps. Elise Stefanik and Colin Allred, is a deceptive bill that doesn’t actually address the realities working people face. Frankly, it doesn’t even provide leave. Instead this legislation would offer temporary help, for new parents only, and then turn around and financially penalize them for the next decade or more. This legislation excludes millions of people, including everyone who may need to care for a family member who isn’t a new child. It also excludes anyone who may need to take leave for a personal medical issue.

For decades, the National Partnership has been fighting for working people to have time to care for themselves and their families. We spearheaded the fight for the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) and currently lead a coalition of hundreds of state and national organizations fighting to secure a national paid family and medical leave program. After years of doing this work, we are excited that there is finally bipartisan dialogue on the need for national paid leave. But the details of a policy must work well for people regardless of their income, age, gender, race or the type of care they need, and can’t be based on a political gimmick.

Women of color, workers who are paid low wages, caregivers to the elderly and many more cannot afford for us to take this rare moment of consensus and squander it on harmful proposals – especially when more than 8 in 10 voters support a comprehensive national paid family and medical leave policy.

Any paid leave bill that truly meets the needs of working people must cover the full range of caregiving and medical needs that working people face. Providing leave only for new parents leaves out the more than three quarters of people who take time off under the FMLA for family caregiving or personal medical needs. And of course, a paid family and medical leave policy must also provide actual time to care.

The good news is that there is already a bipartisan paid family and medical leave bill before Congress that meets working people’s needs. The Family And Medical Insurance Leave (FAMILY) Act is based on successful state programs, is the model preferred by voters, a growing number of small and large businesses, and is supported by over 600 national, state and local organizations.

Members of Congress should not waste their time on ineffective proposals, and should instead focus on passing proven solutions like the FAMILY Act.”

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 all people meet the dual demands of work and family. More information is available at NationalPartnership.org.

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