Washington, D.C. — Today, Carmel Martin, Executive Vice President of Policy at the Center for American Progress, issued the following statement after the White House announced several initiatives to help strengthen middle-class families, including expanding access to paid leave and paid sick days to more working families:
Nearly every worker—both men and women alike—will experience a caregiving dilemma at some point in their working lives, whether it is caring for an aging parent, a sick child, or themselves. Yet public policy has failed to keep pace with the changing American workforce, leaving far too many workers without important paid leave and paid sick day protections. Although numerous cities and states nationwide have adopted paid leave policies that support working families, more than 40 million U.S. workers currently lack access to paid sick leave if they or a family member fall ill. These challenges are even worse for low-income workers and workers of color—both of whom are less likely to work for employers that offer paid sick days. Nearly 80 percent of low-income workers in the private sector lack access to a single paid sick day.
While the Obama administration’s proposals are a critical first step to help families balance their responsibilities at home and at work, Congress must act to make paid sick leave a reality for all working Americans. Passing the Healthy Families Act would give many working families peace of mind knowing that they are not at risk of missing a paycheck or losing their jobs if they fall ill or need to care for a sick loved one. Ensuring that all workers have access to paid sick leave regardless of where they live and work is critical to creating a 21st century economy that values every worker’s caregiving responsibilities and expands the middle class.
In June, the Center for American Progress joined the White House and the U.S. Department of Labor for the first-ever convening of the White House Summit on Working Families, where business leaders, elected officials, policy experts, and workers came together to discuss innovative policy ideas to address the realities faced by working parents who are struggling to balance the demands of their jobs with the needs of their families.
For more information or to speak to an expert, contact Chelsea Kiene at [email protected] or 202.478.5328.