(Washington, D.C.) This evening, the White House announced steps it will take toward ensuring that all workers have the right to earn paid time off for family and medical leave to care for their families. It will call on Congress to pass the Healthy Families Act, which would allow workers to earn up to seven paid sick days, and call on cities and states to pass similar laws. It also announced new funding to help states create their own paid leave programs and plans to increase the paid sick days and leave benefits available to federal employees.
The following is a statement by Marcia D. Greenberger, Co-President of the National Women’s Law Center:
“We applaud the President’s initiative to give workers the right to earn seven paid sick days and have access to paid family and medical leave. Today’s workplaces have failed to keep pace with the reality of workers’ lives. Only 12 percent of workers in the private sector have paid family and medical leave provided through their employer and only 61 percent have paid sick days. Low-wage workers, two-thirds of whom are women, are the least likely to have access to these basic benefits and also most likely to have little to no control over their work schedules. It’s shameful that eighty percent of low-wage workers don’t have a single paid day off to recover from illness. More women are breadwinners than ever before, and they still shoulder the lion’s share of caregiving responsibilities. When a mother welcomes a new baby or takes a day off work to care for a sick child, her family shouldn’t suffer financial hardship as a result.
“Healthy workers who have time to care for their families and sick workers who need time to care for themselves are the backbone of the American economy. There’s simply no excuse for America to lag behind every other industrialized country by failing to provide paid family and medical leave and earned sick days to its workers. It’s time for federal, state and local lawmakers to stand up for hard-working families and put in place the paid family and medical leave, paid sick days and fair scheduling protections that all workers—and especially working women and their families—need and deserve.”
Contact: Maria Patrick ([email protected]), 202-588-5180
Mia Jacobs ([email protected]), 202-588-5180