Today, U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand released the following statement touting the inclusion of national paid leave and care infrastructure investment in President Biden’s American Families Plan. The recently unveiled package would invest nearly $1.8 trillion in care infrastructure to support economic recovery, including $225 billion for a permanent comprehensive national paid family and medical leave program.
“Nearly a decade ago, I introduced the FAMILY Act to create America’s first national paid family and medical leave policy and I am proud to see President Biden include national paid leave in his American Families Plan. This universal and comprehensive paid family and medical leave proposal is one of the most significant steps we can take toward ensuring the economic safety and security of American workers and their families.
Women, particularly women of color, low-income families, and children have been hit hard by the pandemic and faced serious financial hardship when a lack of paid leave meant they had to leave their jobs to care for themselves or their children. The American Families Plan’s national paid leave program would ensure that life events like bringing home a new child, caring for an injured child or sick spouse, dealing with a medical condition, mourning the death of a parent, or recovering from domestic violence do not leave people unable to afford their rent or feed their family.
This pandemic revealed that care infrastructure is not only real, but sorely lacking in America. The need for paid leave will not end when the pandemic does. Making this bold, systemic change today will help families, companies, and our economy weather the crises of the future. I will continue to work on passing a paid leave program in the United States Senate and look forward to working with my colleagues and President Biden to make this policy a reality for the millions of American workers who need this help today.”
Gillibrand is the leading advocate in the United States Senate on paid family and medical leave, introducing the FAMILY Act in 2013, and every Congress since. Her proposal would create a universal and permanent paid leave program to provide partial wage replacement in the event of a serious personal or family medical emergency. States around the country have used it for their own models and have seen success at creating a more equitable and sustainable workforce. The FAMILY Act was most recently introduced in February of 2021, with more original cosponsors than ever, including Senate Leadership and the Chairs of the relevant committees. Last year, she also successfully secured the national emergency paid leave program in the FFCRA and successfully pushed for an extension of the program in the recent American Rescue Plan Act.