President Obama has made a significant announcement in favor of millions of U.S. workers and families when he urged Congress to take up and pass the Healthy Families Act championed by Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-CT) and Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA), which would provide working Americans with up to a week of paid leave per year. He also presented a series of proposals to increase access to paid family and medical leave for working families across the country.
According to White House estimates, 43 million Americans in the private sector do not have any form of paid leave.
“That means that no matter how sick they are, or how sick a family member is, they may find themselves having to choose to be able to buy groceries or pay the rent, or look after themselves or their children,” President Obama explained on the White House website. Yesterday’s announcements, which includes the call to Congress to pass the Healthy Families Act, build on the steps resulting from the White House Families Summit in June 2014:
- President Obama called on cities and states to pass legislation while Congress considers the Healthy Families Act to ensure workers have access to paid sick leave.
- He also proposed $2 billion in new funds to encourage states to develop paid family and medical leave programs.
- President Obama signed a Presidential Memorandum directing agencies to advance up to six weeks of paid sick leave for parents with a new child.
In a statement, NHCOA President and CEO Dr. Yanira Cruz said: “NHCOA has supported, and will continue to support the Healthy Families Act, as well as other legislation that helps working families and our economy, such as the Family Act. Therefore, we applaud President Obama’s announcement and join him in urging Congress to ‘lead on leave’ by making paid family and medical leave a reality for all working Americans.”
NHCOA is a staunch advocate for paid sick days and will continue to work alongside groups National Partnership for Women and Families (NPWF) as well as Family Values @ Work (FV@W) to ensure that the voices of American workers who would benefit greatly from similar legislation, are heard.