On May 17, 2023, Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) and Representative Rosa DeLauro (D-CT) reintroduced the Family and Medical Insurance Leave (FAMILY) Act, which would create a permanent, national paid family and medical leave program. The bill would ensure that every worker, no matter the size of their employer or if they are self-employed or part-time, has access to paid leave for every serious medical event, every time it’s needed.
The current bill makes improvements on the bill that was introduced in the previous Congress, including expanding benefit eligibility to truly cover all workers, bringing the definition of “family” into the 21st century and covering a much broader range of family relationships, a progressive wage replacement rate for benefits, no unpaid waiting period to receive benefits, and extending leave benefits to cover non-medical needs in relation to sexual or domestic violence.
“Without universal paid leave, millions of Americans must choose between their livelihood and the health and well-being of themselves and their families. After ten years fighting for paid leave, we are still the only industrialized nation without this essential program,” said Senator Gillibrand in the press release. Congresswoman DeLauro said, “[t]his year, the fight continues, as we reintroduce a strengthened FAMILY Act to meet families where they are now and ensure no one has to make the impossible choice between their job and the health of themselves or their loved ones.”
CWLA is among the nearly 70 organizations that has endorsed the FAMILY Act, and paid leave is included as a priority in our Legislative Agenda. Paid family and medical leave policies have been shown to reduce overall healthcare costs and would provide stability for children and their families. Research cited by the Pew Research Center highlights that the United States is out of step with much of the rest of the world when it comes to family leave: across 41 countries, America is the only one that does not mandate paid leave. It’s time for Congress to provide paid leave for every family in the United States.