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NHCOA Commends President Obama for Urging Congress to Adopt the Healthy Families Act

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The National Hispanic Council on Aging the leading national organization working to improve the lives of Hispanic older adults, their families, and caregivers applauded President Obama yesterday for urging Congress to pass the Healthy Families Act, which will allow working Americans to accrue up to a week of paid sick leave each year to take care of themselves or a sick family member, get preventive care or address the impacts of domestic violence.

“An estimated 43 million Americans check in and out of their jobs, day in and day out, yet they do not have paid sick leave. This includes Latino and Latina workers who cannot afford to get sick because they are the breadwinners and the caretakers in their households,” said Dr. Yanira Cruz, NHCOA President and CEO.

“These workers are constantly faced with the dilemma of having to choose their job over their health, or the health of their family members. The Health Families Act, championed by Representative Rosa DeLauro and Senator Patty Murray, would make it possible for workers to take time off when they or their loved ones are sick without having to worry about losing wages, or worse, their jobs.”

While Congress considers the Healthy Families Act, President Obama also called on states and cities, such as California and Paterson, NJ, to pass similar laws. In addition, he proposed more than $2 billion to develop paid family and medical leave programs, and signed a Presidential Memorandum directing agencies to allow for the advance of six weeks of paid sick leave for parents with a new child, employees caring for ill family members, and other sick leave-eligible uses.

Currently, the United States is lagging behind other developed countries on paid family and medical leave policies: it is the only developed nation that doesn’t require employers to provide their employees with paid sick leave. According to the White House, it is estimated that 43 million private-sector workers in the United States do not have access to any form of paid sick leave.

“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 join President Obama in urging Congress to ‘lead on leave’ by making paid family and medical leave a reality for all working Americans,” said Dr. Cruz.

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Click here to read FACT SHEET: White House Unveils New Steps to Strengthen Working Families Across America

Watch President Obama’s remarks