As the value of essential work is increasingly appreciated, parental leave needs to be expanded to all workers as the country rebuilds from this crisis.
Dying alone is not unique to a pandemic. In ordinary times, millions of people, including children, spend long hours in the hospital without a loved one present.
In these cases, the orders come not from medical personnel but from a boss: “If you take leave to be with this family member, you will lose your pay.” For many, the order goes further: “If you leave, don’t come back. You will lose your job and your health insurance.”
On Wednesday, the Senate passed legislation that will provide paid sick and family leave for many Americans, as well as free coronavirus testing and strengthened unemployment insurance. In a rare showing of bipartisanship, the bill, known as the “Families First Act,” passed 90-8. It now heads to President Trump’s desk, who expressed support for the bill and is likely to sign.
Tell Congress to pass universal paid sick leave and paid family medical leave—not just in response to the COVID-19 crisis, but permanently.
For women, the lack of paid sick days can have particularly devastating consequences. Luckily, Democratic Congress members are preparing to introduce new emergency legislation to provide relief to workers and others affected by the spread of the coronavirus.
What is the cost of a father dying alone? Who knows the toll when chemo is what you do on your lunch hour? How do we measure the loss of a career to care for a loved one with a disability? What’s the price tag on a child’s terror while waiting in her hospital bed for a parent to finish work and drop exhausted into the chair beside her?
I was driving home from work in June of 2015 when I received the kind of phone call no parent ever wants to get.
The U.S. is one of only two nations in the world that does not offer some form of paid leave, leaving over 80 percent of workers with little financial recourse if they must take time off to care for a new child or a sick family member. Feminists this week pushed for progress on the issue on Capitol Hill—winning one major victory and then calling for even more.
What talent are we losing in our country’s business, security or political leadership by forcing young women to make impossible choices between work and family?
As we celebrate progress for mothers in elected office, let’s not forget all the work that still needs to be done to make paid family leave a reality for every woman in the U.S.