Nearly every worker will need to take time off at some point to provide care for themselves or their family members; however, many don’t because they can’t support themselves without earning an active income. In fact, despite numerous policy advances, only 19% of working Americans have access to paid family leave.
In 1993, the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) granted working Americans access to job-protected, but unpaid, time off to address personal and family medical issues. But this is simply not enough—nearly 44% of America’s workers are ineligible for this law’s protections. 28 years later, it’s past due for an update.
What is the FAMILY Act?
The Family And Medical Insurance Leave (FAMILY) Act, also known as H.R. 1185 or S. 463, would create a comprehensive national paid family and medical leave insurance program that would give workers access to paid leave to address their own health concerns or to care for a new child or seriously injured or ill family member. This also includes health circumstances related to the deployment of a service member. The FAMILY Act would help close the access-to-leave gap between higher and lower-wage workers, and it would give all Americans the protection they deserve.
What would the FAMILY Act do?
The FAMILY Act ensures that:
- Workers are provided with up to 12 weeks of partially paid time away from their jobs.
- All workers are covered, no matter the size of their company.
- Workers have access to a meaningful portion (66%) of their regular income so they can manage their health and caregiving responsibilities while still meeting their basic financial needs.
- Employers cannot fire or discriminate against a worker who has taken or applied for paid family or medical leave.
- Paid leave is funded responsibly by small employee and employer payroll contributions of two-tenths of 1 percent each (two cents per $10 in wages).
Paid leave contributes to improved newborn and infant health. New parents can more easily get their babies to the doctor for check-ups, and mothers have the option to routinely nurse for a longer period of time. Moreover, paid leave allows for those who are injured to receive proper treatment, recovery, and rehabilitation which lowers hospital readmission rates and helps to avoid health complications. Paid leave also keeps new parents and family caregivers in the workforce which has a positive impact on the economy.
You have the power to make a difference! Here are FOUR ways you can support the passing of the FAMILY Act:
- ONE: Email your representatives about the FAMILY Act to voice your support
- TWO: Pick up the phone and call your representatives to tell them why you support National Paid Leave
- THREE: Use Facebook and Twitter to ask your friends and family to advocate for the FAMILY Act with you
- FOUR: Follow IGNITE on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter for more updates.