A Better Balance urges Congress to swiftly pass the Families First Coronavirus Response Act—a critical measure which will protect the health and economic security of workers and families across the country, providing them with permanent paid sick leave, and temporary emergency paid sick leave and emergency paid family and medical leave.
Eleven states guarantee paid sick time for yourself or to stay home with a sick family member: Arizona, California, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Maryland, Michigan, New Jersey, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont, and Washington State, as well as D.C. Dozens of localities also guarantee paid sick time, including New York City, Westchester County, and several cities in California and Washington State—all areas highly affected by Coronavirus.
Who makes a family? If you ask people throughout the U.S., the question would undoubtedly yield a wide variety of responses. Today’s families do not fit one mold – they are multi-generational, blended, LGBTQ, and span beyond legally or biologically related loved ones. Yet some policies, such as the federal Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), have fallen short for workers and their families.
According to SisterSong Women of Color Reproductive Justice Collective, reproductive justice is "the human right to maintain personal bodily autonomy, have children, not have children, and parent the children we have in safe and sustainable communities.” In our mission to ensure pregnant workers, caregivers, and all workers have the support they need to care for themselves and their loved ones, we strongly support and are inspired by the principles of the reproductive justice movement.
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 American 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.
On January 28, the House Committee on Ways and Means held a hearing on legislative proposals for paid family and medical leave, helmed by Rep. Rosa DeLauro, a champion of The FAMILY Act. The FAMILY Act would guarantee U.S. workers 12 weeks of paid family and medical leave to welcome a new child, care for a family member with a serious illness or disability, attend to their own serious medical needs, or deal with a loved one’s deployment. The hearing represents a historic step forward for this critical legislation!
Since 2015, we've worked closely with advocates and lawmakers to push for a comprehensive paid family & medical leave program in Tennessee. On Wednesday, we joined State Representative Gloria Johnson in Knoxville to announce the Tennessee Family Insurance Act, a bill to grant paid family and medical leave to all workers in the state. Under this proposal, employees would contribute a small amount each month to a paid family and medical leave insurance fund.