Families First Act Will Provide Relief, Much More Work Ahead to Provide Paid Leave and Paid Sick Days for All

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

"This past week our country began to have a real conversation about paid sick days and paid leave and why these policies are key to our country's health and well-being, especially during this time of crisis. This conversation should not be swept aside and it should not end here. Our nation has a long way to go to ensure that workers who are sick or need to take care of a sick loved one have time off without fear of losing their job or a paycheck. And it is unfortunate that it has taken a pandemic to expose this huge flaw in our nation's social safety net.

Progressive allies and many Democrats in Congress have been working around the clock over the last week to secure paid sick days and paid leave for as many workers as possible. Unfortunately, Republican leaders have failed to do the right thing and instead have gutted critical provisions to exclude many workers. Despite changes to the paid sick days and paid leave provisions of the legislation that have weakened the House-passed bill, we are still urging the Senate to take swift action and pass the Families First Coronavirus Response Act. The Act's strong provisions such as increasing funding for Medicaid, strengthening food security programs, ensuring more patients have access to coronavirus testing at no cost, as well as the limited paid sick days and paid leave protections will still help women and families weather the health and economic challenges during this time of crisis. And they are too important to play politics with.

While we support passage of this bill, we recognize that, as is, this legislation leaves out too many workers by narrowing the scope of the protections and adding exemptions for businesses. It is unacceptable that some of our leaders are prioritizing corporate interests over the well-being of families and communities. We are a nation of teachers, nurses, service workers and first responders, not corporations. We join Speaker Nancy Pelosi in urging Congress to expand the use of emergency leave in the third coronavirus response bill. We also call on all members to support the Providing Americans Insured Days (P.A.I.D.) of Leave Act, sponsored by Sens. Patty Murray and Kirsten Gillibrand and Rep. Rosa DeLauro. The P.A.I.D. Leave Act would ensure working people have access to emergency leave and would go beyond the current crisis to establish national paid sick days and paid leave standards."

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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