The below is a statement from A Better Balance Co-Presidents Sherry Leiwant and Dina Bakst on the inclusion of a comprehensive paid family and medical leave program in President Biden’s American Families Plan:
“With the release of the American Families Plan, President Biden has shown the deep care he has for working families in this country, not just in word but in deed. For the first time in our nation’s history, an American president has put out a comprehensive proposal for a paid family and medical leave program, recognizing that no one should have to sacrifice their economic security to care for their loved ones or themselves. This is a historic day.
President Biden’s paid leave proposal, which will guarantee 12 weeks of paid leave to bond with a new child, care for a seriously ill loved one or one’s own serious illness, deal with a loved one’s military deployment and more, is achievable and feasible. For 15 years we have worked tirelessly to pass state paid leave laws and have seen firsthand through assisting workers on our free legal helpline that they offer a critical lifeline for working families. For the millions of workers, especially women of color, who have been forced out of the workforce due to caregiving needs during the pandemic, paid leave will play a key role in gender equality and this country’s economic recovery.
The American Families Plan—with its significant investments in paid leave and child care and recognition that Congress must also pass the Healthy Families Act to guarantee paid sick time—will not simply help this country build back better, but also more equitably and with the needs of working families front and center. It also sets a floor, not a ceiling. At the same time as this Plan moves forward, we must also recognize the needs of pregnant workers and pass the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act because, too often, pregnant workers are forced off the job for needing modest accommodations, leaving them without a paycheck or the possibility of receiving paid leave once they give birth.
We thank President Biden for his leadership and vision in bringing us to this groundbreaking moment. We also thank Rep. Rosa Delauro and Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand for their longtime dedication to working families and leadership on paid leave, and Rep. Richard Neal for his continued devotion to ensuring this country has a strong paid leave program.”