Media Contact: Joe Weedon
WASHINGTON, DC – October 25, 2023 –Today, in a statement to the Senate Committee on Finance, Miriam Calderón, Chief Policy Officer at ZERO TO THREE, renewed ZERO TO THREE’s call for national Paid Family and Medical Leave.
“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.
“Paid family and medical leave, when long-term time off is needed, and paid sick days, for short-term health needs, help ensure that employees do not face economic instability when they must attend to family needs and responsibilities or care for themselves. These protections are particularly important for families of color, who are more likely to work in jobs where such benefits are not offered, and who are less likely to have the financial reserves to take needed time off work.
“A national paid family and medical leave policy must be broad and robust to comprehensively address families’ needs for providing care. ZERO TO THREE has endorsed the Family and Medical Insurance Leave (FAMILY) Act, which meets this goal. It would
- Provide workers a meaningful duration of leave, not less than 12 weeks, for caring for their own serious health condition, the birth or adoption of a child, addressing the effects of domestic violence or sexual assault, or to make arrangements for military deployment.
- Provide wage replacement rates to make taking leave financially possible for all working people – ensuring the lowest paid workers receive 85 percent of their normal wage, with typical workers earning around two-thirds of their wages.
- Be inclusive of all working people across the United States, covering workers in all companies, no matter their size. Younger, part-time, lower-wage, contingent, and self-employed workers would all be eligible for benefits.
- Ensure workers on the job for more than 90 days have the right to be reinstated following their leave, and all workers are protected from retaliation.
- Be affordable, cost-effective, and sustainably funded by small employee and employer payroll contributions.
“Care is a fundamental factor in human life. As a nation, we should be doing everything we can to ensure parents and close caregivers can be present for their young children to give this responsive support. That begins with paid leave.”
Read ZERO TO THREE’s full statement to the Senate Committee on Finance.