Below is a statement from A Better Balance Co-Presidents Sherry Leiwant and Dina Bakst on Congress’ decision to cut an extension and expansion of emergency paid leave from the just-passed American Rescue Plan Act:
“The American Rescue Act makes important investments in our working families in the form of funding for our childcare infrastructure, extending pandemic unemployment insurance, the child and dependent care credit tax credit, and other measures. But we are disappointed that an extension and expansion of the emergency paid leave provided by the groundbreaking Families First Coronavirus Response Act, though proposed by the Biden administration, was cut from the bill in Congress.
In the midst of a deadly pandemic, as more workers than ever face unprecedented risks to their health, while shouldering increased caregiving responsibilities, it is an outrage that paid leave was on the chopping block. 37 million workers in the United States do not have access to a single paid sick day—disproportionately workers in low wage, frontline jobs, where women and people of color are overrepresented. Our failure to protect marginalized workers with paid leave for both personal and family care is a profound injustice, with devastating economic and public health consequences.
We call on the White House, Senator Schumer and Speaker Pelosi to work together to urgently cover all workers in the country with permanent and strong paid sick leave and paid family and medical leave laws.”