Announces Campaign for People to Tell What #PaidLeave Means to Them

WASHINGTON, DC-- Congresswomen Rosa DeLauro (D-CT) reintroduced legislation today that would create paid family and medical leave. The Family and Medical Insurance Leave (FAMILY) Act would establish a national paid family and medical leave insurance program, ensuring that American workers would no longer have to choose between a paycheck and caring for themselves or a family member.

“In 1986, when I was Chief of Staff to Senator Chris Dodd, I was diagnosed with ovarian cancer. It was an experience I would not wish on anybody,” said DeLauro. “But in one sense I was lucky; my employer offered paid medical leave. Paid leave helped me get through that difficult time in my life, but many families are not as fortunate. Access to paid family and medical leave should be a fundamental right for all Americans, not a lottery based on where you happen to find work. Helping families who work hard keep their jobs and hang on to their paychecks during a tough period in their lives will boost our economy. There is no reason not to pass the FAMILY Act.”

DeLauro also announced she is launching a campaign to collect stories from people across the country about what #PaidLeave means to them. She will share the stories, which can be submitted here, with her colleagues in Congress.

“When a young parent needs time to care for a newborn child – it should never come down to an outdated policy that lets her boss decide how long it will take – and decide the fate of her career and her future along with it,” said Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), who introduced companion legislation. “When any one of us – man or woman – needs time to care for a dying parent – we should not have to sacrifice our job and risk our future to do the right thing for our family. Choosing between your loved ones and your career and your future is a choice no New Yorker should have to make.”

Current Family and Medical Leave law provides unpaid, job-protected leave for serious health related events, but only about half of the workforce qualifies for this unpaid leave, and many more simply cannot afford to take it because it is unpaid.

The FAMILY Act would create an independent trust fund within the Social Security Administration to collect fees and provide benefits. This trust would be funded by employee and employer contributions of 0.2 percent of wages each, creating a self-sufficient program that would not add to the federal budget. The proposal makes leave available to every individual regardless of the size of their current employer and regardless of whether such individual is currently employed by an employer, self-employed or currently unemployed, as long as the person has sufficient earnings and work history.

The legislation has 82 original cosponsors.