Today, Congress reintroduced the Healthy Families Act, which would create a national right to paid sick time, and the FAMILY Act, which would create a comprehensive, national paid family and medical leave program. A Better Balance joined legislative champions Chairman Sanders, Senator Gillibrand, and Ranking Member DeLauro in Washington D.C. for a rally celebrating the introductions and urging Congressional leaders to make comprehensive paid leave and paid sick time a right for all.
ABB Co-Founder & Co-President Sherry Leiwant shared a statement at the rally on Capitol Hill from Community Advocate and Kentucky-based worker Crystal Phillips: “I was fortunate enough to have access to emergency paid sick time, which was a lifeline for me when I experienced COVID symptoms and needed time to quarantine, but now that those protections have expired, I’m back to having no access to paid sick days. I speak out about my experience so that hopefully, nobody is put in a position of having to weigh their health needs against keeping their job. Now, we need to make paid sick leave a guaranteed right for workers across the country.”
Under the Healthy Families Act, workers whose employers have at least 15 employees will accrue 1 hour of paid sick time for every 30 hours worked and be able to use up to 56 hours per year, and those with smaller employers will be able to accrue unpaid sick time at the same rate. As we at A Better Balance have long highlighted, a federal right to paid sick time would be a lifeline for workers and their families nationwide, while also helping protect public health and benefiting businesses and the economy as a whole.
Coinciding with the reintroduction of the Healthy Families Act, A Better Balance released an update to its landmark “Sick Without A Safety Net” report reflecting the increasingly urgent need for a federal paid sick time program, how these protections are especially important for young adults, and the tremendous benefits these programs have already had at the state and local level.
The FAMILY Act will help promote the health, wellbeing, and economic security of families nationwide by providing up to 12 weeks of job-protected paid leave bond with a new child, or to care for oneself or one’s loved ones. Paid leave will make a world of difference in the lives of families nationwide – as ABB Community Advocate Kim Donoghue wrote in a Medium post about her experience lacking access to paid family leave following the birth of her daughter, “We need to make sure nobody is forced to choose between their paycheck and being there for their loved ones like I was during what should be a joyful and exciting time.” Critically, the FAMILY Act will also allow adults over the age of 18 to receive care from their parents, providing crucial coverage to young adults and their family caregivers.
A Better Balance is proud to have helped draft the original Healthy Families Act and FAMILY Act, and to have played a leading role in crafting both of these bills to ensure they meet the needs of the workers and families who need them most urgently. We applaud Chairman Sanders, Senator Gillibrand, Ranking Member DeLauro, and all the Congressional leaders at today’s rally for prioritizing the needs of working families, and urge our leaders to make comprehensive paid leave and paid sick time a right for all.