February 5th marks the 27th anniversary of the signing of the Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993. The FMLA provides job-protected, unpaid time off for millions of U.S. workers to care for themselves and their families, and has been used over 200 million times since its enactment. Passage of the law was an incredibly important first step, but 40 percent of workers are excluded from the FMLA’s protections. Many more cannot afford to take the unpaid leave it offers. Nearly three decades later, it’s time for the next step: paid leave for all U.S. workers.
And the momentum for paid family and medical leave is growing! Eight states and D.C. have passed comprehensive paid leave programs—with some exciting updates going into effect in 2020. And Congress recently held a historic hearing in which advocates and lawmakers made the case for the federal FAMILY Act, which would guarantee workers 12 weeks of paid benefits to care for a new child, a family member with a serious illness or disability, or one’s own medical needs.
As we regularly hear from callers our free legal helpline, without paid family and medical leave, too many people must suffer economic hardship in order to take care of their families and their own health. It’s time for this to change. We are proud to be leaders of the federal Paid Leave for All campaign, and to fight for a strong federal paid leave program for all workers and their families.