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ZERO TO THREE Applauds Reintroduction of the FAMILY Act to Give Babies Strong Start in Life

Organization urges Congress to swiftly enact legislation to establish permanent, comprehensive paid leave and invest in our nation’s future.

WASHINGTON — Today, Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-CT) and Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) reintroduced the Family and Medical Insurance Leave (FAMILY) Act, providing paid leave to cover the whole range of babies’ and families’ needs for paid time off, including the opportunity to bond after birth or adoption and care for a family member during serious illness.

ZERO TO THREE, the country’s leading early childhood development nonprofit dedicated to ensuring all babies and toddlers have a strong start in life, hailed the legislation as foundational to meeting the needs of families. The bill provides a permanent, comprehensive, and inclusive solution to provide families with the support they need to help babies thrive, and the organization urged Congress to quickly pass the proposed legislation.

ZERO TO THREE Chief Policy Officer Dr. Myra Jones-Taylor stated:

“No parent should be forced to choose between providing for and caring for their child. The COVID-19 pandemic brought our country’s caregiving crisis into sharp relief, and in the absence of a national paid leave policy, many families were left to make impossible choices for their children’s care.

“Though the emergency paid family and medical leave provisions in the Families First Coronavirus Response Act were an important step for families, that was only a temporary solution. Rep. DeLauro and Sen. Gillibrand’s critical legislation will at last make paid leave available to all workers and their families, regardless of their zip code or employer. We urge Congress to pass this bill without delay. Our babies and families have waited long enough.”

Science has long shown that the time right after a baby is born or adopted is a time of extraordinary growth, development, and connection for a family. Parents and their babies need dedicated time together to develop close, nurturing relationships that set the foundation for a child’s healthy development. They also need time to care for their child or other family members during serious illness. The FAMILY Act offers an approach that is science informed and addresses the real needs of working families. The bill:

  • Is funded in a way that is affordable for workers, employers, and the government without harming other essential programs;
  • Provides comprehensive coverage of personal medical and family caregiving needs as reflected in the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA);
  • Gives a meaningful duration of at least 12 weeks of leave to allow people sufficient time to meet their care and health needs, as well as a wage replacement rate and benefit level that makes taking leave financially possible for everyone;
  • Is inclusive of all working people, no matter where they live or the nature of their job;
  • Does not require workers to sacrifice other benefits such as social security or the Child Tax Credit; and
  • Protects workers from retaliation or adverse employment consequences for requesting or taking leave.

Learn more about the importance of paid family and medical leave in the first months and years of a child’s life.


ZERO TO THREE works to ensure all babies and toddlers benefit from the family and community connections critical to their well-being and development. Since 1977, the organization has advanced the proven power of nurturing relationships by transforming the science of early childhood into helpful resources, practical tools and responsive policies for millions of parents, professionals and policymakers. For more information, and to learn how to become a ZERO TO THREE member, please visit zerotothree.org, facebook.com/ZEROTOTHREE or follow @ZEROTOTHREE on Twitter.

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