MomsRising Backs President Obama Urging Congress to
Pass the Healthy Families Act and the FAMILY Act
Earlier today, President Obama in a Labor Day address announced a new executive order expanding paid sick leave to all employees who are working on federal government contracts. The action makes all federal contract workers eligible to earn 1 hour of paid sick leave for every 30 hours worked up to 7 days. In the speech, President Obama also announced his support for the Healthy Families Act, legislation that would guarantee paid sick leave to all U.S. workers; and of the the FAMILY Act, legislation that would establish an insurance program that would provide workers—including those who are self-employed and/or work part time—with much-needed income while they, or a family member, deal with the arrival of a new baby or a serious health issue.
Kristin Rowe-Finkbeiner, executive director and CEO of MomsRIsing.org, an organization of more than 1 million mothers and their families issued the following statement, praising President Obama’s announcement and urging Congress to pass the Healthy Families Act and FAMILY Act:
“Moms and their families across the country welcome President Obama’s expansion of earned paid sick days to all federal contract workers. Advancing earned paid sick days, as well as family leave insurance, boosts our nation’s families and our nation’s economy. Our over million members wholeheartedly support these two policies and have been raising their voices, sending letters to leaders, attending meetings, sharing their stories with the media, and much more at the city, county, state and federal levels to advance these critically important policies.
Plain and simple – no one should ever have to choose between going to work sick and risk infecting coworkers and customers or staying home and losing an invaluable day’s pay. And no one should have to go back to work immediately after a new baby arrives or when facing a catastrophic health issue.
American families just can’t afford it. American businesses and our economy can’t afford it either.
It is now up to Congress to take the next step and expand earned paid time off to all American workers. Our public policies are not caught up with what modern working families and our modern economy need to thrive. Women are now 50% of the labor force, and 40% of primary breadwinners are moms, but our family economic security policies are stuck in the stone ages.
For instance, despite the fact that over 160 countries guarantee a minimum number of earned sick days, right now, nearly 40% of private sector workers, and more than 80% of low-wage workers, in the US don’t have the ability to earn a single paid sick day – costing the economy nearly $160 billion in lost revenue and productivity.
Further, it is a national embarrassment that over 177 countries provide some form of paid family leave insurance to new parents and that the US isn’t one of them. Even though the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) was passed more than two decade ago, only 13% of American workers are able to access paid family leave when a new baby arrives.
President Obama’s Labor Day announcement for working families, including his public support for the Healthy Families Act (earned sick days) and the FAMILY Act (paid family leave insurance) are important steps in helping to improve family economic security in the US, while at the same time strengthening our businesses and our economy.
We thank and salute President Obama for his commitment to helping our families and our economy be healthy and strong and recognizing the needs of the American workforce this Labor Day. Moms and their families around the country back President Obama’s call for Congress to pass these crucial laws now, and we call on every single person running to be President of the United States to support earned paid sick days and a national paid family leave insurance policy.”
MomsRising.org is an online and on-the-ground grassroots organization of more than a million people who are working to achieve economic security for all families in the United States. MomsRising is working for paid family leave, flexible work options, affordable childcare, and for an end to the wage and hiring discrimination which penalizes so many others. MomsRising also advocates for better childhood nutrition, health care for all, toxic-free environments, and breastfeeding rights so that all children can have a healthy start. Established in 2006, MomsRising and its members are organizing and speaking out to improve public policy and to change the national dialogue on issues that are critically important to America’s families. In 2013, Forbes.com named MomsRising’s web site as one of the Top 100 Websites For Women for the fourth ye