The New Push for Paid Family Leave

Source: Sharon Lerner, American Prospect, December 12, 2013

Although the FAMILY Act, introduced today, enjoys bipartisan support, its introduction is just the beginning of a long battle.

Today, Senator Kirsten Gillibrand and Representative Rosa DeLauro introduced the FAMILY Act, a bill that would grant every employee in the country access to up to 12 weeks of paid family and medical leave. It’s a move that’s been long in coming. Really long.

For the past 20 years, workers who have needed time off to care for a seriously ill family member or a new baby have had to rely on the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA). With its 12 weeks of job-protected leave, the FMLA has helped people hang on to their jobs while dealing with the exigencies of life in more than 100 million instances. But, about 40 percent of workers aren’t covered by the law. And, because its leave is unpaid, countless workers have qualified for time off but been unable to afford to take it.