Washington, DC – U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand spoke on the Senate floor Wednesday and called on Congress to pass the Family and Medical Insurance Leave (FAMILY) Act.
According to New York’s Junior Senator, the United States is the only industrialized country in the world that does not guarantee access to some form of paid leave, forcing millions of American workers to choose between earning a paycheck and leaving their job to take care of their family.
Gillibrand’s FAMILY Act would create a paid family and medical leave program for all workers, which would provide up to 66 percent of wage-replacement for 12 weeks in the event of a serious personal or family medical emergency.
She said the paid family leave proposal announced by Senate Republicans does not apply to all workers, and would force workers to borrow from their Social Security to take paid time off.
“Congress should be working to strengthen Social Security, but this Senate Republican plan weakens it,” Gillibrand said in a statement released Wednesday. “Any plan that robs the Social Security trust fund will hurt low-income workers, seniors, and women the most. Women already receive less Social Security benefits than men, and this plan only exacerbates that problem. Our country desperately needs a paid family medical leave plan, but robbing Peter to pay Paul is shortsighted and wrong. No worker should have to borrow against their own Social Security benefits, which are already too low, to get paid family leave when they need it to take care of a new baby, a sick family member, or themselves. We need to pass a paid leave program that is comprehensive, affordable, gender-neutral, and covers all of life’s unexpected medical events. This bill fails that test. Congress should act now to pass the FAMILY Act, which is an earned benefit that would help all American workers take paid time off through shared responsibility of the employer and employee.”