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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.

Vermont: on its way to becoming the fourth state to adopt paid sick leave bill

By Elyce Nollette, Public Policy Associate

There is a lot celebrate in Vermont with a 76-to-66 vote in the state House of Representatives on its paid sick days bill!

Although there is more work to be done, this sets a strong precedent for paid sick days for its workers. Currently, the state lacks a law requiring employers to provide their employees paid or unpaid sick leave. Through this bill, employers would be required to provide at least 3 paid sick days to their employees. Should statewide paid sick day provisions be adopted in its Senate, Vermont would become the fourth state to do so, joining the ranks of California, Massachusetts and Connecticut as paid sick and family leave trendsetters in the United States.

Every worker deserves the right to take time off in order to take care of their own health and the health of their loved ones without fear of losing wages or face disciplinary action. Yet, the fear and anxiety of having to choose is a reality more than 11 million workers must face each day. While there is a federal piece of legislation (called the FAMILY Act or the Healthy Families Act), which would establish paid sick and family leave standards throughout the United States and provide additional protections for American workers regardless of where they live, efforts to pass the bill through Congress and get it to the President’s desk have been stalled.

In the meantime, states like California, Massachusetts and Connecticut, took it upon themselves to pass their own state legislation because they understand the importance of paid sick leave and paid family leave as an integral part of the health and well-being of their residents. Now Vermont is one step closer to joining this elite group of states. We congratulate Vermont for another step in the right direction, and all those who are fiercely advocating for paid sick and family leave in the state and throughout the country.

Take Action

Contact your U.S. Senators and Representatives to voice your support for the Healthy Families Act.

The Time for the FAMILY Act is Now

By Elyce Nollette, Public Policy Associate

Every day, 11% of our workforce shows to up work hoping to not get sick. 

These workers probably also hope their children, parents, and dependents don’t get sick as well. That is the daily reality of American workers who do not have access to paid sick or family leave.

For many parents, having a job and having a family are mutually exclusive. If they need to take care of a family member or themselves, they could lose wages, face disciplinary action, or even worse, get fired. All Americans, including diverse Americans, want to have strong families— be there for their children and parents when they need them most. They also want to have the resources and support to be successful in their jobs. However, many often find themselves forcing to choose one over the other because the alternative doesn’t solve their need. Millions of workers who are covered by the Family and Medical Leave Act don’t take it, or use it sparingly— despite the job protection safeguards— mostly because it is still unpaid leave, wages that working parents simply can’t afford to lose.

Such decisions weaken our country, and wreak havoc among diverse families who tend to live in intergenerational households and rely on informal caregiving to take care of each other.

On election night last year, several paid sick leave initiatives were ushered in with ample margins in the state of Massachusetts, and the cities of Oakland, CA, Montclair, NJ and Trenton, NJ. While these were significant wins, there are still millions of workers in other states who deserve the same access. The good news is we can change this though through the FAMILY Act, also known as the Healthy Families Act. The bill creates a national paid family and medical leave program, which was recently re-introduced by Senator Patty Murray (D-WA) and Representative Rosa DeLauro (D-CN). The bill is based on already successful and effective state paid leave laws and would reduce economic inequality and improve economic opportunities for all Americans, while simultaneously help hardworking women and men meet their caregiving needs.

The FAMILY Act is a game changer for Latinos and other diverse communities.

  • According to the U.S. Congress Joint Economic Committee, an additional 5.6 million Latino workers would have access to paid sick leave under the Healthy Families Act, equating to a 78% employee coverage increase.
  • Paid sick and family leave helps to increase worker productivity, promote preventive care, and decrease the spread of contagious illnesses and diseases, which in turn has a positive effect on the economy.

The FAMILY Act has gotten off to a slow start, but together we can change this. 

The bill was referred to the Committee on Education and the Workforce, as well as the Committees on House Administration, and Oversight and Government Reform, and needs to be voted on so it can then have a chance at a vote on the House and Senate floors. The only way action will be taken to move the Healthy Families Act and make it a reality for all working Americans is by speaking up and taking action. The best way to encourage the committee to act is by emailing and calling the Committee on Education and the Workforce, as well as reaching out to its members individually so they know that diverse communities want and need this important piece of legislation.

Dear Governor Cuomo: Women Leaders Are Hungry for Paid Leave

This letter was sent to New York Governor Andrew Cuomo this week on behalf of 23 female leaders and advocates, including NHCOA President and CEO Dr. Yanira Cruz, who are asking for the state’s Temporary Disability Insurance program to be expanded to include paid family leave:

As President Obama noted in his State of the Union address, the U.S. is “the only advanced country on Earth that doesn’t guarantee paid sick leave or paid maternity leave to our workers.” In fact, only one other nation – Papua New Guinea – stands with us on this particularly embarrassing list.
Yet recently you declared that New York lacks the “appetite” to pass paid family leave legislation. According to you, Albany’s appetite for change has been filled by other policies that seek to advance women’s equality, and which deserve to be addressed first.
As representatives of national organizations who work every day for policies that promote gender justice, we have to disagree.  Pitting paid family leave against an agenda for women’s equality is like saying we can’t build bridges because we need to build roads. In fact, affordable leave is key to economic security for women, for communities and for families. New York should step forward as a leader.
From wage discrimination to paid family leave, policies that advance gender equity work hand in hand. In fact, the lack of paid family leave is a key contributor to women’s lower pay and inequality.  The glass ceiling is held in place by thick maternal walls.
Paid leave is also not only a women’s issue. Men want to be good fathers, sons and husbands, but are punished on the job for doing exactly that. Research underlines the importance of paid leave for babies’ development and early learning – something we all have a stake in. The issue also deeply impacts seniors, the chronically ill, and our economy as a whole. Given the disproportionate impact of lack of leave on workers of color, such a policy is also critical for achieving racial justice.
Voters on both sides of the aisle overwhelmingly agree on the need for paid leave and also that government has a responsibility to provide policies that reflect the realities of today’s families. Nationally, 81 percent – 94 percent Democrats, 80 percent of Independents and 65 percent of Republicans – say workplace rules to ensure equal pay, paid time off to care for family members and affordable child care are “good for our nation.”
Doctors have also found that policies allowing family members to be with their loved ones through an illness boost the health of their patients. And economists know that affordable leave keeps women in the workforce and increases their earning potential – without hurting businesses small or large.
Today New York is the only state besides Hawaii that has a Temporary Disability Insurance program that has not been expanded to include paid family leave. The other three – California, New Jersey and Rhode Island – have all established such programs, with benefits for families and for business. Unlike other states working hard to find funds to create a new paid family leave program, New York has an existing structure that can easily be expanded to include care of new children and family members. Creating this program will not bring additional costs to the state, while providing critical support for families.
Paid family leave would ensure that no New Yorker has to choose between the health and economic stability of her family. It would mean that major life moments we all share – the arrival of a new child, or a close relative needing care – do not have to mean debt or bankruptcy.
We need New York to be a pacesetter for the nation. We know that the appetite for paid family leave in New York State is robust. We call on you to join in supporting and pressing for a paid family leave policy that not only advances women, but all of New York while paving the way for change in other states and nationally.
Signed,

Ellen Bravo, Executive Director, Family Values @ Work

Melanie Campbell, President & CEO, National Coalition on Black Civic Participation; Convener, Black Women’s Roundtable

Yanira Cruz, President and CEO, National Hispanic Council on Aging

Margot Dorfman, President US Women’s Chamber of Commerce

Eve Ensler, Playwright and Activist

Olivia Golden, President, Center on Law and Social Policy (CLASP)

Sarita Gupta, Executive Director, Jobs with Justice

Saru Jayaraman, Co-Director, Restaurant Opportunities Centers United

Carol Joyner, Director, Labor Project for Working Families

Linda Meric, Executive Director, 9to5

Debra Ness, Executive Director, National Partnership for Women & Families

Ai-jen Poo, Director, National Domestic Workers Alliance, Co-Director, Caring Across Generations

Kristen Rowe-Finkbeiner, Co-Founder and Executive Director/CEO, MomsRising

Elizabeth H. Shuler, Secretary-Treasurer, AFL-CIO

Eleanor Smeal, President, Feminist Majority

Neera Tanden, President, Center for American Progress

Jessica Valenti, Author

Randi Weingarten, President, American Federation of Teachers

Teresa Younger, President and CEO, Ms. Foundation for Women

It’s Time to Act on the FAMILY Act

This week Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) and Representative Rosa DeLauro (D-CT) plan to reintroduce the Family And Medical Insurance Leave (FAMILY) Act in Congress. 

NHCOA joins several other national organizations– which have supported the FAMILY Act since its historic introduction in 2013– in urging members of Congress to co-sponsor and pass this legislation, which would establish a national paid family and medical leave insurance program.

Show Congress your support for the FAMILY Act

You can support the FAMILY Act by sending this customizable email to your state senators and representative:

Dear Senator/Representative [INSERT LAST NAME],

Only 13% of the nation’s workforce has employer-provided paid family leave and less than 40% has employer-provided paid medical leave. This time for Congress to take notice and act is now so that millions of hardworking women and men don’t have to face financial instability when a new child arrives or a serious illness strikes, harming families, businesses and the economy. 

Paid leave champions, Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) and Representative Rosa DeLauro (D-CT), plan to reintroduce the Family And Medical Insurance Leave (FAMILY) Act this week, and I urge you to co-sponsor this common sense bill. 

Everyone needs time to care for a new child, help sick loved ones or handle a serious illness, and we’re counting on your leadership to help make it happen.

Respectfully yours,

[YOUR NAME]

Want to take more action on paid leave?

Be a part of the conversation on Facebook and Twitter with the hashtags #TimeforFAMILY and #FAMILYAct.

Learn more about paid family leave and share your story here.

 

Looking Toward the “Fourth Quarter”

By Dr. Yanira Cruz

Tonight President Obama will lay out his fourth quarter plan for his last two years in the White House. Over the last few weeks, he has shared a couple of “SOTU spoilers,” traveling the country to discuss different aspects of what he will present in tonight’s speech.

On behalf of the hundreds of thousands of Hispanic older adults, families, and caregivers we represent, here are a couple of areas we would like to see the President prioritize over the next two years.

1. Work with Congress to protect low-income Medicare beneficiaries.

The Medicare Qualified Individual program, which pays for low-income seniors’ Medicare Part B premiums, has been temporarily extended until March 31, 2015. Congress should make this program permanent and provide funding to help low-income seniors, particularly Hispanic older adults, gain access to the Qualified Individual program and other Medicare benefits as those who are elegible are most likely not to receive it.

Medicare fraud is also a pervasive issue among Latino seniors. They are systematically targeted due to the multiple barriers that keep them from accessing and understanding their benefits and rights as Medicare beneficiares. Congress should ensure that proper funding be secured to conduct culturally and linguistically appropriate outreach and education to this vulnerable, hard-to-reach population.

2. Urge Congress to strengthen and reauthorize the Older Americans Act.

The Older Americans Act is long overdue for reauthorization, and needs to be modernized to better serve the needs of the growing and diverse older adult population it serves, particularly low-income seniors who are struggling to make ends meet. The programs of the OAA are also extremely important in allowing older adults to age in dignity and the best possible health as it authorizes a wide variety of programs focused on health, nutrition, caregiver support, job training, and more.

3. Urge Congress to pass the Supplemental Security Income Restoration Act of 2014.

The bill would provide some sorely needed updates to this long-neglected program which provides subsistence level income for over 8 million older Americans and people with disabilities. A majority of those who receive Supplemental Security Income (SSI) are women, including two-thirds of those who receive SSI on the basis of age. Revising the current SSI program to match 2014 cost of living standards and expenses is not only common-sense, but critical to the success, health, and well-being of all seniors, and especially those in the Hispanic community.

4. Provide increased subsidized housing opportunities for Hispanic older adults and low-income seniors.

The Housing and Urban Development (HUD)’s Section 202 Program helps to expand the supply of affordable housing with supportive services for older adults.  It provides very low-income older adults with options that allow them to live independently but in an environment that provides support activities such as cleaning, cooking, and transportation. Additionally, the building and housing units have railings and other features which make them easily accessible for older adults. Many Hispanic older adults live in subsidized housing, but the wait lists are long, and many wait years before qualifying. Increased funding for these housing programs is needed to reduce the wait periods and allow more Hispanic older adults and low-income seniors to have a safe and affordable place to live.

5. Take action so more working families have access to family and medical paid leave.

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. We applaud President Obama’s announcement last week, which included a call to Congress to pass the Healthy Families Act, but there is more to be done to ensure that all working American families have access to the time off they need to take care of themselves or a family member.

NHCOA will be live tweeting tonight during the State of the Union, which starts at 9 pm ET. For live streaming and more information about tonight’s speech, visit wh.gov/SOTU.

What I am thankful for on MLK Day

Washington, DC NHCOA Leaders class of 2012

By Dr. Yanira Cruz

Today is Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, a day to remember Dr. King’s legacy through acts of service. Across the country, hundreds of thousands of people are participating in a wide range of projects that strengthen communities, promote leadership, and provide solutions to social issues. As we strive to achieve the democracy and social justice Dr. King envisioned for our country, MLK Day serves a reminder that servant leadership and volunteerism lie at the heart of who we are: a society that believes in giving back, sharing the best of our talents, and empowering others to be the best they can be.

Service and volunteerism at the core of our Hispanic Aging Network, a growing group of individuals, groups, and organizations that carry out our mission of improving the lives of Hispanic older adults, their families, and caregivers, in different areas of the county. The commitment and dedication of this intergenerational, multicultural, and bilingual network is the lifeblood that enhances and inspires our work in Washington and in the field. Their volunteerism helps to:

Today I would like to offer my gratitude to those who share the best of themselves—not only on MLK Day, but every day of the year— to improve the lives of others who need encouragement, support, and aide.

¡Muchas gracias!

It’s Time to Lead on Leave

hispanic_family4President 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.

Read a detailed fact sheets of President Obamas proposals to strengthen working families and watch his remarks.

 

 

 

 

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

hispanic_family4

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.

 # # #

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

Watch President Obama’s remarks

 

Paid sick leave wins in California and Paterson, NJ

By Dr. Yanira Cruz

On September 9, 2014, Paterson, NJ became the 11th city in the United States, and the 5th in New Jersey, to pass paid sick days (PSD) legislation through a city council ordinance. According to New Jersey Working Families, a nonprofit group that’s part of a coalition of organizations pushing for sick time laws around the state, “more than 4,000 Patersonians signed petitions supporting the initiative.”

The law neither applies to government entities nor to employers that have union contracts in place with their workers. Under this ordinance, employees would be allowed to accrue one hour of sick time for every 30 hours they work. The workers would be allowed to carry sick days from one year to the next, but they would not be able to cash in unused sick days, according to proponents of the initiative.

Similarly, on August 30, 2014, California joined Connecticut as the second state requiring most California employers to provide a minimum of three paid sick days to their workers each year.

Although it excludes in-home care workers, this law, which was signed into law today, September 10, 2014, will cover an estimated 6 million workers, or 40% of California’s workforce.

The fight for paid sick days has gained incredible momentum in recent years, especially in the past year, all thanks to local and state advocacy groups such as National Partnership for Women and Families (NPWF) as well as Family Values @ Work (FV@W).

According to PSD advocates, “workers who do not have access to paid sick days are one-and-a-half times more likely to go to work sick with a contagious illness, putting their co-workers and customers at risk, and costing an estimated $160 billion each year in lost productivity. Delaying treatment for illness can cause conditions to worsen, leading to more emergency room visits and increased costs for public health insurance programs.”

To date, the United States is the only nation in the world that does not offer paid maternity leave and one of a few that does not uniformly require some form of paid sick days.

Despite the introduction of federal legislation, Congress has been slow to act. As a result, states and cities around the United States have taken it upon themselves to pass piece-meal legislation in hopes of creating national discourse and momentum that will force Congress to act and provide a consistent solution to this issue. Given the various victories in the past year, and especially in the past few months, it is clear that this movement is gaining steam and it will hopefully force Congress to act on it in the subsequent months following the November elections.

In addition to Connecticut, and now California, eleven cities have passed similar legislation into law. Five of those cities passed their laws in 2014 alone. Sick-day measures are on at least a half-dozen ballots this November, including in Massachusetts, Oakland, California, and a few cities in New Jersey. At least six more states will take up the issue in 2015, including Colorado, Maryland and Vermont.

NHCOA, a staunch advocate for paid sick days, will continue to work alongside groups such as NPWF and FV@W to ensure that the voices of American workers who would benefit greatly from similar legislation, are heard.