Reading Help

Más de 2 millones de adultos mayores esperan por el Permiso Familiar Pagado

Por Nicolás Peña

NHCOA/MIA/Octubre 2016.-  Para 2018, se estima que más del 10% de los estadounidenses mayores de 75 años estarán trabajando o en búsqueda de empleo.

Esta cifra, difundida por The Wall Street Journal, se traduce en dos millones de personas aproximadamente, para quienes la  aprobación e implementación del  Permiso Familiar Pagado, a nivel nacional, debe ser una prioridad.

La mayoría asocia el Permiso Familiar Pagado con personas de 40 años, asumiendo que los adultos mayores se han retirado. Sin embargo, más del 30% de este grupo permanece en el mercado laboral.

Durante los últimos años, la cifra de adultos mayores con más de 65 años que continúan trabajando ha aumentado de forma alarmante. Y es precisamente esta población la que requiere contar con permisos remunerados para cuidar de su estado físico y mental.

Según datos publicados por BBC Mundo una cuarta parte de los adultos estadounidenses han sido amenazados o despedidos por solicitar permisos para recuperación médica o el cuidado de un familiar.

Con base a la aprobación de leyes federales que prohíben el despido de una persona por solicitar permisos para atender temas de salud, la Asociación Nacional por las Mujeres y la Familia, calificó con una “D” la legislación, que en el estado de Florida, rige sobre esta materia.

Tras una evaluación realizada por esa organización en todo el país, y reseñada por el Nuevo Herald, es muy poco lo hecho por The Sunshine State para mejorar la ley conocida como FMLA. Aunque el informe puntualiza la necesidad del permiso remunerado por maternidad, deja también la interrogante sobre el cuidado a un familiar tras una emergencia médica.

El permiso familiar y/o médico (FMLA) ofrece al trabajador, entre otras garantías, la posibilidad de recuperarse de una condición física grave; cuidar de hijos/as; esposo/a o padres con un estado de salud grave. Sin embargo, no obliga al empleador la continuidad del pago salarial durante la licencia.

Actualmente, se impulsa el proyecto de ley para el Permiso Familiar Pagado, conocido como el PFL por sus siglas en inglés. Su aprobación garantizaría el pago durante la ausencia por motivos médicos o cuidados de un familiar de hasta un máximo de 20 semanas, sin temor a perder el seguro médico ni el puesto de trabajo. Si requiere mayor información comuníquese al 866-488-7379.

Two More Cities Adopt Paid Sick Leave Policies

Yesterday we were witness to what is one of the most significant wins for working families in recent history: San Diego and Eugene, Oregon became the 8th and 9th cities to adopt paid sick leave laws. These cities are in good company, joining nine cities (Portland, New York City, Newark, Jersey City, San Francisco, Seattle, and Washington, DC) and the state of Connecticut as places that have stood by working families and adopted paid sick day policies.

Despite detractors and critics in both cities, both pieces of legislation passed with ample majority (6-3 vote in San Diego and 5-3 vote in Eugene).

In San Diego, the law would provide full-time workers up to 5 earned sick days per year and prorate part-time workers sick leave based on hours worked, while in Eugene workers would receive one hour of paid sick leave for every 30 hours worked with the possibility of accruing up to 40 hours per year.

While there is still opposition and potential legal challenges are in sight, we are hopeful these measures will withstand and more workers and families will have the peace of mind they deserve.

Family Values @ Work’s Executive Director Ellen Bravo qualified yesterday’s events as “historic”:

“Campaigns for paid sick days in Eugene and San Diego involved months of organizing by local workers, small business owners and many partner organizations. Yesterday, their work paid off: no longer will workers in Eugene and San Diego be forced to choose between the job they need and the family that needs them.”

As thrilled as we are about this news, it makes us keenly aware of how many more cities, states and workers—especially Latino workers and families— stand to benefit from paid sick leave legislation. The road ahead to paid family and sick leave for all is long, but working together we can and will improve the lives of all workers and their families.

Leaves That Pay and the State of the Union

By Jason Coates, Public Policy Associate

In this year’s State of the Union Address, social media commentators were abuzz when President Obama said, “A mother deserves a day off to care for a sick child or a sick parent without running into hardship.  And you know what, a father does too.”  The National Hispanic Council on Aging (NHCOA) agrees with the President because we believe all workers should have the ability to take paid time off to recover from an illness, care for a loved one or bond with a newborn baby.

The fact is people across the country need leaves that pay because everyone gets sick at some point.  However, millions of workers (39% according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics) aren’t able to take a single paid day off to care for their health. For NHCOA, this is alarming because the number of working family caregivers (people who take care of an elderly family member) is increasing. Just like any worker, these caregivers would benefit from paid sick days and paid family leave insurance.

Leaves that pay also provide economic security. According to the Employee Benefit Research Institute, 19% of retirees entered retirement earlier than planned to care for a family member or spouse. If he or she was Hispanic, early retirement represents less time to be able to save money as Latinos earn lower than average incomes and experience higher rates of poverty. For people with low incomes and without leaves that pay, illness forces them to choose between their family and their economic security.

Businesses also benefit from leaves that pay because they increase loyalty among workers and decrease turnover.  Decreased turnover means that businesses face fewer of the costs associated with replacing experienced employees with new workers.  The health benefits that workers receive from leaves that pay extend to employers as well; when people are able to take time off to care for their health, they are more likely to treat minor health issues before they become expensive conditions.

NHCOA is working to tell the stories of people that are in particular need of leaves that pay.  One of the people that NHCOA serves, Carlos, lost his job after taking his wife to the emergency room during his scheduled work shift.  When asked why he chose to care for his wife rather than go to work, he said he did it because he “wanted to be a good husband and father.” Should we have to sacrifice our ability to care for our own to make a paycheck? Should we have to choose between our families and our job?

Congress is currently considering bills on paid sick days and family and medical leave insurance.  The bills, the Healthy Families Act (paid sick days) and the FAMILY Act (paid family and medical leave insurance), would help eliminate the choice people face between their health and family and their economic security.  NHCOA fully supports these initiatives because being a good worker should not come at the expense of caring for one’s family and health.

Feliz Año Nuevo: New Resolutions for 2014

ae25c3c389bab00310e593f279cd83ca741d828dAs the end of 2013 draws near, people around the world are getting ready to celebrate a new year. While traditions vary in different cultures – from eating grapes to kissing a loved one at midnight – one common tradition that people across many cultures share is making resolutions for a fresh start. This year the NHCOA family encourages you to adopt some new resolutions that will not only improve your life, but the lives of those around you too, including our padres y abuelitos.

  1. Get tested for HIV. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that 1 in 4 people living with HIV don’t know they have it. One of the best ways we can achieve the goal of making an AIDS-free generation a reality is to stop the spread of HIV by practicing safe sex every time and getting tested for HIV regularly.
  2. Each year resolutions around weight-loss and increased gym attendance prevail. This year try adopting a healthy diet and doing physical activity, such as dancing or walking, in an effort to prevent or manage diabetes.
  3. Get vaccinated against the flu. The height of flu season arrives right after the new year, so it’s still not too late to get your vaccine. And while the flu vaccine may be one of the most well-known vaccines, you may need others. Discuss the vaccines you need with your doctor this year.
  4. Help fight Medicare fraud by becoming a volunteer for the National Hispanic SMP program. Scammers often target Hispanic older adults due to their unique vulnerabilities, including linguistic and cultural barriers, lower levels of formal education and social isolation. By getting involved with the NHSMP, you can help protect our padres y abuelitos from Medicare fraud and strengthen the program for future generations.
  5. Advocate for paid family leave in your state. Twenty years after the passage of the Family and Medicare Leave Act, only about 60 percent of U.S. workers have access to paid leave, putting a huge financial burden on new parents and those with sick family members.
  6. If you don’t have health insurance, sign up for a plan through the marketplace. NHCOA’s Navigators can help you as you decide which plan best meets your needs. In 2014, access to health insurance is no longer a privilege, but a right.

No matter the resolutions you pick, the NHCOA family wishes you a happy and healthy Near Year! Feel free to share your resolutions in the comments section below.

Cuéntanos tu Historia: Paid Family Leave

Over the past couple years, the National Hispanic Council on Aging has started to advocate for paid sick and family leave.  In this blog, NHCOA has described the importance and ability of these policies to appeal to a wide variety of people and groups.  Paid sick and family leave policies improve the health of individuals and the public, enhance the economic security of working people, and strengthen the ties between generations.

NHCOA is launching its “Cuéntanos Tu Historia” story collection campaign to provide a human context to these policy discussions.  In the coming weeks, NHCOA will begin featuring the stories of people from across the country that have been affected by paid sick and family leave policies.  While people can draw conclusions from descriptions of policies, stories provide real demonstrations of how the policies interact with real people.

To carry out the Cuéntanos Tu Historia campaign, NHCOA is working in partnership with its Hispanic Aging Network and members of the Diverse Elders Coalition.  Hispanic Aging Network partners in New Jersey, a state that provides paid leave for workers to take time off to recover from a serious illness and to help loved ones recover from a serious illness, will collect stories about the experiences Hispanic older adults have had with the law.  In Florida, a state that does not have paid sick days or paid sick and family leave protections, NHCOA’s community partner will learn about how people think they could benefit from such policies and the experiences people have had going to work sick or when a loved one needs care.  Services and Advocacy for GLBT Elders (SAGE), a member of the Diverse Elders Coalition, will collect stories about paid leave needs of LGBT older adults.  The Southeast Asia Resource Action Center (SEARAC), another Diverse Elders Coalition member, will collect stories from its community affiliates in California.

The Cuéntanos Tu Historia campaign is designed to highlight diverse populations and their perspectives on paid leave issues.  The ability to take time off work to care for one’s health or the health of a loved one is an issue that affects all working people.  With Cuéntanos Tu Historia, NHCOA will highlight the experiences of diverse groups to show that everyone has a stake ensuring that everyone has access to paid sick and family leave policies.

Employment and Demographic Changes and the Need for Paid Sick Days

By Jason Coates, Public Policy Associate

One of the National Hispanic Council on Aging’s (NHCOA) biggest priorities is empowering people to enter old age with economic security.  These goals have become more difficult in recent years, as middle class households have seen their incomes decline.  Further, since the financial crisis in 2008, the U.S. economy has lost middle income jobs.  Making matters worse, the largest job gains have come in the form of lower wage occupations, which are more likely to lack paid sick leave.  These two factors – the replacement of middle wage jobs with low wage jobs and the tendency of low wage work to lack the benefit of paid sick days – means that the time is ripe for federal, state and local governments to enact policies that enable working people attain economic security. 

NHCOA supports efforts to pass paid sick and family leave laws.  By allowing people to earn paid time off to recover from an illness or care for a loved one, these policies help maintain the economic security of Hispanic families and communities.  The Family and Medical Leave Act was passed in 1993, but no other federal sick and family leave laws have been enacted since.  A lot has happened since 1993, however.  The country is becoming older, as the Baby Boomer birth cohort turns 65.  Family caregiving is becoming common, as well, as there are over 40 million people who care for another adult over the age of 50. 

Demographic, health and economic changes need to be met by responses in policy.  Paid sick days laws in Connecticut, New York City and San Francisco, and family and medical leave laws in California and New Jersey are policies that support the economic security of working people.  NHCOA supports the Healthy Families Act, a national paid sick days law, and the FAMILY Act, a national law which would provide paid family and medical leave.  These laws will improve the quality of jobs, enhance economic security, allow people to recover from illness and keep illnesses from spreading.  NHCOA looks forward to a time when all workers will have access to paid sick days and paid family and medical leave. 

The Broad Appeal of Leaves that Pay

By Jason Coates, Public Policy Associate

The National Hispanic Council on Aging (NHCOA) supports paid sick days and paid family and medical leave.  These policies support the economic security of families and low wage workers, can help improve public health, and allow working people care for their loved ones.  They appeal to a wide variety of groups – low- and middle-income earners, people in multigenerational households, seniors, and people with disabilities.  The wide reach of these programs means that a diverse coalition can make them law across the country.  The Family and Medical Leave Act and the Affordable Care Act both passed with the support of large and diverse coalitions, and paid sick days and paid family and medical leave laws will need such support as well.

Paid sick days and paid family and medical leave are important for Hispanic communities because the longer than average hours of caregiving they provide take a negative toll on their economic security.  In 2008, 36% of Hispanic households had at least one caregiver.  While the average caregiver in the U.S. spends 31 hours each week providing care, Hispanic caregivers spend 37 hours providing assistance.   In fact, Hispanic caregivers are far more likely to have had to make a major change to their work situation by reducing hours, changing jobs, or stopping work entirely.  Overall, Hispanic households lose wages and economic security from caregiving.  Paid sick days and paid family and medical leave policies would be especially beneficial to Hispanics.

Older adults, both those in the workforce and out, would benefit from the public health and family friendly aspects of paid sick days and paid family and medical leave.  More than one-in-three workers lack paid sick days, and they put the public at risk when they go to work sick.  Older adults are at especially high risk, as the immune system tends to weaken with age.  Working seniors would also benefit from the ability to take time off to care for a spouse with a serious medical condition or to recover from their own serious illness.

Advocates for women and working families are already strong supporters of paid sick days and paid family and medical leave policies, but a larger, more diverse coalition is needed.  Organizations representing Hispanics, family caregivers, and seniors should join the effort to pass federal paid sick and family and medical leave laws.  By providing a diverse perspective, new groups can make these policies appealing to a larger number of people, thus increasing their probability of becoming law.

Paid Family Leave and Older Adults

Paid family leave refers to policies that allow workers to take time off from work to recover from illness, to care for a seriously ill family member or to bond with a newly born or adopted child. During these leaves, workers receive some form of financial payment and do not have to worry about losing their jobs.

Many people associate paid family leave with younger individuals because they assume that older adults are retired and no longer working. However, today about 30 percent of adults ages 65 and older are still employed. While each worker has their own reason for staying in the workforce longer, many continue to work due to financial insecurity and longer life expectancy. Unfortunately, as the demographics of the workforce continue to evolve, many of the policies have stayed the same.

According to the National Partnership for Women and Families, paid family leave is important for older adults because:

  • Older workers need paid leave to manage their own health needs and continue working. Older adults are more likely to suffer from health conditions, including chronic conditions requiring regular care. At least 80 percent of older adults have at least one chronic condition. If older workers are going to stay healthy and productive they need policies that allow them to take time away from work to manage their serious health conditions.
  • As the population ages and people live longer, it will become more common for workers to serve as caregivers–increasing the need for paid leave. There are at least 43.5 million caregivers of adults over 50 in the United States. Most of them have paying jobs in addition to their caregiving responsibilities. These family caregivers need time off when an elderly parent or relative faces an injury or serious illness – such as a stroke or a diagnosis of cancer – and they need policies that acknowledge these caregiving responsibilities. With the population of older adults in the United States expected to swell to 20 percent of the population, or 72 million people, by 2030, this need will inevitably grow

Paid family leave is particularly beneficial for Hispanic older adults. On average, Hispanic older adults live longer than other ethnic groups in the U.S., but are more susceptible to illness. Furthermore, Hispanic older adult men have an above average labor force participation rate, but the Latino population as a whole is still disproportionately affected by poverty, with the rate being 18.7% for Hispanic older adults. Job-protected leave would provide a small piece of additional economic security to those that are still working.

The National Hispanic Council on Aging (NHCOA) supports paid family leave work policies for everyone. Over the past year, NHCOA has been working across the country to raise awareness and empower all Hispanics to advocate for paid family leave laws at the local and state level.

More Reasons to Support Leaves that Pay

By Jason Coates, NHCOA Public Policy Associate

According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, middle income parents in the United States can expect to spend $234,900 raising a child born in 2011.  The median household income in the U.S. is $52,762, and in more than half, 59 percent, of families with children, both parents worked.  With both parents working to meet the expenses of childcare, the ability to take paid time off to care for a child is more important than ever.

Each day 10,000 people turn 65 years of age.  Many older adults are moving in with their adult children.  There are over 40 million family caregivers in the U.S., and many live with the older adult that they care for.  In order to fulfill caregiving duties, people need to be able to have paid time away from work.

While the economy has improved over the last couple years, the real wages of many families have not similarly improved.  This means that they are facing the increasing costs of child care and supporting older adults with wages that have not increased as much.  More families are adjusting to the new economy, and policy makers need to adjust as well.  Cities and states across the country have enacted policies to allow people to take time off to care for their health and the health of a loved one.  A national policy is needed, as well.

The National Hispanic Council on Aging (NHCOA) is strong supporter of leaves that pay.  These policies improve the health of older adults by supporting their caregivers.  Leaves that pay also provide economic security to workers by allowing them to care for their health without having to worry about losing a day’s wages.  NHCOA is eager to educate Hispanic communities in places that have leaves that pay and to help empower them in places that do not yet have such policies.

The Family Medical Leave Act Celebrates 20th Anniverary

By Jason Coates, Public Policy Associate

Earlier this month the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) turned twenty years old.  The National Hispanic Council on Aging is grateful for the positive impact that the FMLA has had for workers and their families.  The policy protects the right of workers to take up to three months away from work to care for their health or the health of a loved one and return to the same job.  The FMLA protects both economic security and health by allowing people to recover from an illness away from work without having to worry about losing their job.  Since its enactment twenty years ago, the FMLA has protected the health and economic security of millions of people and families.

The FMLA is more important now than ever before.  Each day, 10,000 people turn 65, and there are not enough paid workers to care for the home health needs of the older adult population.  The FMLA is a vital resource for older adults that rely upon their adult children for care.  NHCOA is eager to highlight the importance of the FMLA as a policy that supports the health of Hispanic older adults across the country.

While FMLA protects important rights, there is great potential for policy makers to strengthen it.  FMLA only covers workers at firms employ at least 50 people in an area, and workers also need to have worked for their employer for at least 27 hours per week for at least one year to earn FMLA coverage.  The FMLA also does not provide any income replacement during a worker’s time off.  This means that people with limited savings put their economic security at risk when exercising their FMLA rights.  According to Pew Research, Hispanic households have a median net worth that is substantially lower than that of the general population.  This low net worth can prevent Hispanics from taking time off work that the FMLA provides.  Despite the advancements made by the FMLA over the last twenty years, there are still many people that need to choose between their health and their job.

There are policies that supplement the FMLA to support economic security.  New Jersey and California have developed state insurance policies that provide income replacement when workers use FMLA leave.  NHCOA calls on policy makers to strengthen the FMLA by following the successful models of New Jersey and California.