FAMILY Act Will Allow Workers to Care for Themselves and Loved Ones
Congress Must Prioritize Paid Family and Medical Leave for Caregivers During COVID-19 and Beyond
In response to the reintroduction of the FAMILY Act today, Health Care for America Now Executive Director Margarida Jorge released the following statement:
“Passing the FAMILY Act is essential to helping our country overcome the pandemic. Without the ability to take time off to care for their own health or the health of a loved one, Americans are being forced to choose between a paycheck and doing what’s best for their family and public health. Far too many workers are still being forced to go to work sick or after being exposed to COVID-19, aiding in the spread of the rampant virus. A long-overdue national paid leave policy will help put a stop to that and help the nation build back better by improving race and gender equity in the workforce.
“On top of the health impact of denying millions of people paid leave, there’s been a huge economic penalty for women. Since the pandemic began, hundreds of thousands of women have dropped out of the workforce, in large part because they have taken on a disproportionate share of care work at home. Between widespread child care facility closures, increased elder care responsibilities, and countless people who need care for illness caused by COVID-19, more and more women are struggling to balance growing care obligations with making ends meet. By enabling workers to take the time they need to care for themselves and their families without forgoing their earnings, the FAMILY Act will play a crucial role in preventing women from being pushed out of the workforce, losing their health care and losing income.
“Our current paid leave crisis is the result of years of Congress dragging its feet on implementing the FAMILY Act and other basic policies that help people work and at the same time take care of their families in today’s economy. Short-term fixes won’t do. We need permanent paid medical and family leave that protects workers and their families now. We urge Congress to finally pass this long overdue policy that puts gender and race equity at the center of future relief proposals.”