Washington, DC – U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) today released the following statement in response to a study by Data For Progress that shows broad support for a comprehensive paid leave program for all American workers. Senator Gillibrand’s FAMILY Act, sponsored in the U.S. House by Representative Rosa DeLauro (D-CT-3), received the most support from voters in the study.
“The study today from Data For Progress proves what we already knew – paid leave is a bipartisan issue and workers across the country overwhelmingly support national paid leave. This new report shows Americans specifically want the FAMILY Act that I have been championing for years – not paid leave in name only that uses social security benefits or only applies to new parents. Every worker will have a family emergency or welcome a new baby into the family and need to take time off. Right now, our system leaves those workers out to dry causing them to lose wages when they need to take time off to care for a loved one. We should never have to make someone choose between a paycheck and their family. The FAMILY Act would solve this problem by making paid leave affordable and accessible to every worker, ensuring the support they need. With the support of voters on both sides of the aisle, it is time we bring the FAMILY Act up for a vote.”
U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand is the leading voice in the Senate on paid family and medical leave. Her legislation, the Family and Medical Insurance Leave Act, or FAMILY Act, would create a universal, gender-neutral, national paid family and medical leave program. The FAMILY Act is the gold standard for paid leave legislation in Congress and would ensure that workers can take up to 12 weeks of paid leave for a pregnancy, the birth or adoption of a child, recovery from a serious illness, or to care for a seriously ill family member.
The United States is the only industrialized country that doesn’t guarantee its workers some form of paid leave. Studies have shown that the lack of access to paid family and medical leave costs nearly $21 billion that otherwise could be spent on housing, child care, food, education, or other day-to-day items. The FAMILY Act would create a self-sustaining family insurance program for all workers – young and elderly, single and married, and men and women, regardless of the size of their employer. Modeled after successful state programs, and costing only as much as a cup of coffee per week, the fund would provide up to 66 percent wage replacement for up to 12 weeks in the event of a serious personal or family medical emergency.
Specifically, the FAMILY Act would do the following:
- Provide up to 12 weeks of partial wages to working people who need to take time away from their jobs to address a serious personal or family health issue, to care for a newborn or newly adopted child, or for circumstances arising from a loved one’s military deployment or serious injury;
- Be self-funded through payroll contributions from employers and employees of just two-tenths of 1% each (two cents per $10 in wages), or about $4 a week total, split between employers and employees;
- Guarantee portable coverage so that workers who have multiple jobs, change jobs, or are self-employed are provided with the same security as traditional employees; and
- Provide 66% wage replacement, capped at $4,000 a month.