National Partnership for Women & Families

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Sen. Gillibrand, Rep. DeLauro Launch Push for National Paid Family and Medical Leave Insurance

Sen. Gillibrand, Rep. DeLauro Launch Push for National Paid Family and Medical Leave Insurance

December 13, 2013 — Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) and Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-Conn.) on Thursday introduced legislation (S 1810, HR 3712) that would ensure federal paid, job-protected family and medical insurance leave is available to all U.S. workers, the National Journal reports.

The 1993 Family and Medical Leave Act (PL 103-3) allows eligible employees to take up to 12 weeks of unpaid, job-protected leave for a personal or family illness or to care for a new child, but only about 12% of U.S. residents have access to employer-provided, job-protected paid leave. The financial burden of taking time off can be particularly problematic for hourly workers, according to the Journal (Ritger, National Journal, 12/12).

Details of Family and Medical Insurance Leave Act

The Family and Medical Insurance Leave Act -- developed by the National Partnership for Women & Families and the Center for American Progress -- would provide up to 12 weeks paid leave to all eligible workers, regardless of company size, duration of employment or number of hours worked (Women's Health Policy Report, 11/18). The same protections would be available to self-employed individuals and unemployed U.S. residents who have sufficient earnings and a work history.

The FAMILY Act would establish an independent, self-sufficient program within the Social Security Administration to collect fees and distribute benefits (Randall, Staten Island Advance, 12/12). The program would be funded by employee and employer contributions of 0.2%, which Gillibrand and DeLauro described as "the expense of a cup of coffee" each week.

Gillibrand said in a statement, "When a young parent needs time to care for a newborn child -- it should never come down to an outdated policy that lets her boss decide how long it will take -- and decide the fate of her career and her future along with it." She added, "Choosing between your loved ones and your career and your future is a choice no one should have to make" (National Journal, 12/12).