Oregon Congresswoman Wants Better Family Leave Plan
Oregon Congresswoman Suzanne Bonamici joined Connecticut Congresswomen Rosa DeLauro and Florida Congresswoman Lois Frankel in leading more than 100 Members of the House of Representatives in calling on President Trump to replace his flawed paid leave proposal with a policy that will help families who are struggling to make ends meet.
President Trump’s limited paid leave proposal offers six weeks of paid leave to working families in a narrow set of circumstances. In May Bonamici slammed the Trump plan, calling it “woefully inadequate.”
In the letter to Trump, Bonamici and colleagues discussed the challenges faced by working families and how to best support caregivers, new parents, and workers struggling with their own health issues. They also noted the potential for a paid leave policy to bring greater stability to our economy. House Democrats have introduced the FAMILY Act, a comprehensive and sustainable paid leave proposal that will provide important leave time for new parents and for workers who need to take care of themselves or their family when there is an injury or illness. This policy will give workers the flexibility they need to stay in the workforce instead of being forced out to provide needed care. Bonamici expressed concern with several aspects of President Trump’s proposal, including its exclusion of medical leave and family caregiving. More than three-quarters of people who take family or medical leave do so to care for themselves or a sick family member. Further, the six-week duration offered in the proposal is inconsistent with the twelve-week national standard established for family and medical leave. The proposal also endangers the already overstretched unemployment insurance program without providing additional resources. The full letter is available here.
“For a thriving workforce and economy, working families need a meaningful paid family and medical leave program,” said Bonamici. “The President’s proposal is inadequate and fails to recognize millions of primary caregivers for elderly or sick family members. I implore the President to work with us to create a paid leave program that creates stability in the workplace, gives families the flexibility they need, and supports a healthy workforce.”
Bonamici is an original cosponsor of the Family and Medical Insurance Leave (FAMILY) Act, which would give eligible employees partial wage replacement for up to 12 weeks per year. Under the FAMILY Act, workers could take paid leave for the same reasons that they can take unpaid leave now under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA). FMLA covers workers when they have a serious health issue (including pregnancy or childbirth); when they care for a parent, spouse, domestic partner, or child; and when they care for a new child.