“There’s a solid body of evidence that suggests paid leave has a positive effect on parents and doesn’t adversely affect employers. Paid maternity leave is associated with improved physical and mental health for both mothers and infants, and improves early life outcomes for children, which can lead to later economic growth.”
A 74-year-old man is blocking Congress from providing American workers with paid family and medical leave, leaving the United States as the only industrialized nation without such a mandate.
On Wednesday, Senate Democrats said they would have to drop the provision from their Build Back Better legislation because they were unable to convince Joe Manchin from West Virginia to get on board.
“The fact that this one older white gentleman, who perhaps has never had to contend with family caregiving or the risk of losing his job or being unable to pay his bills, could stand in the way of paid leave for nearly 20 million people a year is shocking and upsetting,” said Vicki Shabo, senior fellow at the New America Foundation.
Just 23% of private sector workers have access to paid family leave provided by their employer and 42% have access to medical leave.
Universal paid leave would allow workers to take time off for a new child, recovery from an illness, taking care of a seriously ill family member or issues arising from a loved one’s military deployment.
“I think it’s horrific that one white man can make this decision,” said Dawn Huckelbridge, director of Paid Leave for All. “But I think it’s also a failure of our entire government. This should have been a monumental legacy we could have left the American people in a time of need. And this could have been a cornerstone program that would have helped every working family in this country. And we’ve squandered that opportunity.”