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STATEMENT: We Cannot Build Back Better Without Paid Leave

We cannot build back better—or build back at all—without a national paid family and medical leave program that supports all workers, especially women, who need time to care for a new child, a seriously ill family member, or their own serious illness.
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(New York, N.Y.— The following is a statement from A Better Balance Co-Founder and Co-President Sherry Leiwant:)

“We are sharply disappointed by the news that paid family and medical leave may be cut out of the “Build Back Better” package—a package touted as being aimed at helping American families recover from the care crisis brought on by the global pandemic. We cannot build back better—or build back at all—without a national paid family and medical leave program that supports all workers, especially women, who need time to care for a new child, a seriously ill family member, or their own serious illness.

The consequences of the loss of this policy at the federal level will disproportionately fall on low-wage workers and women of color who are least likely to have any time off at all. At A Better Balance, we hear from such workers every day through our free legal helpline. For those who have access thanks to a state program, paid leave has truly been a lifeline, and for those who do not, no paid leave often means devastating sacrifices between their economic security and their families’ needs or personal health.It is so far past time for Americans to have this basic protection.

We want to thank all those who have fought so tirelessly for this policy, particularly our champions in the House of Representatives–Speaker Pelosi and Representatives Neal, DeLauro and Jayapal and the Progressive Caucus—as well as our Democratic women Senators, in particular Senators Gillibrand and Murray. Thank you for understanding that it is critical for all workers to have the time to care for themselves and their loved ones.

We join our fellow advocates and workers who have spoken out from across the country in calling on the President and Congress to deliver on their commitments to the American people. We will continue to fight for the bold, inclusive paid family and medical leave program that America’s working families deserve. And as we continue to forge ahead in Congress, we remain committed to enacting strong paid leave programs in the states that model the more fair and equitable future that is possible.”

A Better Balance is a national legal advocacy organization dedicated to advancing justice for workers caring for themselves and their loved ones. ABB is a leader in the federal Paid Leave for All campaign and has played an instrumental role in passing strong paid leave policies in 9 states and DC. 

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