NETWORK Supports Swift Passage of FAMILY Act

Audrey Carroll
February 8, 2021

Last week, on the 28th anniversary of the passage of the Family and Medical Leave Act, Representative Rosa DeLauro (D-CT-03) and Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) officially re-introduced the Family and Medical Insurance Leave (FAMILY) Act. The FAMILY Act would establish a national insurance fund to provide workers a portion of their wages for up to 60 days, or 12 weeks. States such as California, New York, and New Jersey already have successful personal medical leave programs in place to protect and support their workers. The FAMILY Act provides up to 12 weeks of paid leave annually for self-care, the introduction of a new child into a family, care for an ill family member, and care related to military deployment. NETWORK supports the passage of the FAMILY Act to support and sustain working people and families, and work towards a just and equitable economic system.

The COVID-19 pandemic has illustrated the need for investment in workers and families in order to keep our nation healthy and keep people employed. Paid leave protections are essential in crises like global health emergencies. In order to ensure long-term economic and health security, a national paid leave program must be implemented. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ final 2020 job report, over 5 million women lost their jobs in the last year, and accounted for 100% of job loss in December. Job losses were even steeper for women of color. To help reduce disparities in our workforce and the continued existence of the racial wealth and income gap, people need a guarantee of paid family and medical leave.

NETWORK has joined our partner organizations in advocating for emergency paid leave in President Biden’s American Rescue plan and supporting a permanent paid leave program. Our organization signed on to a letter urging Members of Congress to ensure strong paid leave protections. A portion of the letter read,

“We cannot safely return to in-person learning, reopen businesses and public spaces, or end this pandemic without the guarantee that workers can stay home with pay when they are sick or when they need to care for loved ones. Even before the pandemic, workers and their families lost an estimated combined $22.5 billion in wages each year due to a lack of paid family and medical leave. The lack of access to paid leave also leads to higher costs in unemployment, health care, and compounding financial losses. We must act now. Paid leave is one of the best and most cost-effective solutions we have for our public health and economic recovery and there is a path to finally pass paid leave for all in this country. We needed it the last time we faced a pandemic. We need it now. And we need it permanently.”

Read the whole letter here.