Washington, DC – U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand released the following statement today after the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor & Pensions (HELP) held a subcommittee hearing entitled Paid Family Leave: The Benefits for Businesses and Working Families. Gillibrand has been a vocal leader urging Congress to join every other industrialized nation in the world by passing federal legislation that would create paid maternity leave, in addition to medical leave. Gillibrand’s Family and Medical Insurance Leave (FAMILY) Act would establish a national, gender-neutral paid family and medical leave insurance program, ensuring that American workers would no longer have to choose between a paycheck and caring for themselves or a family member.
“I want to thank the committee for holding this important hearing and contributing to moving a conversation forward that middle class families want to have. It is shocking that the United States is the only industrialized nation in the world that doesn’t offer paid maternity leave. And when any one of us – man or woman – needs time to care for a dying parent – we should not have to sacrifice our job and risk our future to do the right thing for our family. Choosing between your loved ones and your career and your future is a choice no family should have to make any longer.
“For the cost of a cup of coffee a week we can do better by creating an earned benefit available to every worker in America without adding a single dime to the deficit. Offering paid leave is also fiscally smart for businesses, in my home state of New York, 60 percent of small businesses support a publicly administered paid leave program because it actually increases productivity.
“With more dual income households than ever before, and 40 percent of women with children at home serving as sole breadwinners, when women get held back financially by systemic impediments in the workplace, the entire middle class and American economy gets held back too. We have to equip more working women with the tools and the opportunities needed to achieve their best in the economy, and their best for their family. Congress can start by passing the FAMILY Act to bring America’s workforce in line with the rest of the developed world.”