Reading Help

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.

 

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.

Make 2013 a year for ensuring workers and caregivers have paid family leave

Another of NHCOA’s resolutions in 2013 is ensuring that caregivers and workers have paid family leave because no one should have to choose between their job and their family.

The ability to take paid time off of work to recover from an illness or care for a loved one is one important way to stop the spread of diseases. However, those who need paid time off the most don’t necessarily get this benefit from their employer.
Continue reading “Make 2013 a year for ensuring workers and caregivers have paid family leave”