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Daily Action: Urge Brownley to Co-Sponsor the FAMILY Act

CONTACT:
Rep. Julia Brownley: 
DC: (202) 225-5811
Thousand Oaks: (805) 379-1779


Sample Script:
Hello, my name is __________, and I am a constituent of Representative Brownley's in _______________, California. I am calling to encourage her to co-sponsor H.R. 1185, the Family and Medical Insurance Leave, or FAMILY Act. Currently 62 percent of working people are either ineligible for leave under the 1993 Family and Medical Leave Act, or else they can’t afford to take unpaid leave. The FAMILY Act would help close this gap by creating an affordable, comprehensive program that provides paid family and medical leave insurance. It would ensure that Americans are better able to take time off to address serious health and caregiving needs for themselves and their families. Thank you!


BACKGROUND
The Family and Medical Leave Act allows time off from work to care for a new child, either through birth or adoption; to care for an ill, injured, or disabled child, parent, spouse, or domestic partner; to care for one’s own serious medical issues; or for certain military caregiving and leave purposes.

However, about 40 percent of the workforce is ineligible for time off under the FMLA due to requirements around employer size and hours worked. and an additional 22 percent of the workforce is eligible for unpaid time off, but can’t afford to take it. Only 17 percent of the workforce has access to paid family leave through employers, and less than 40 percent has personal medical leave.

Lack of access to paid family and medical leave leads to dire consequences for families:

  • Nearly one quarter of moms go back to work within two weeks of giving birth, which is not nearly enough time to physically recover and bond with a newborn.

  • Three out of four men in professional jobs return to work in one week or less after having a child, and nearly 60 percent of low-income fathers took no paid leave at all.

  • Those who have to take time off from work to care for family members also lose out—older workers who leave the workforce to care for an aging parent lose more than $300,000 in income and retirement savings.

The FAMILY Act would create a national paid family and medical leave insurance fund that nearly every working person would be able to access. It would:

  • Provide workers 12 weeks of partially paid time off. Workers could take time off for the birth or adoption of a child; to care for an ill, injured or disabled child, parent, spouse, or domestic partner; to care for one’s own serious medical issues; or for certain military caregiving and leave purposes. Workers would receive up to 66 percent of their monthly wages (up to a capped amount of $4,000 per month) to ensure that low- and middle-wage workers have a higher share of their wages replaced.

  • Apply to virtually all working people across the United States, regardless of their jobs or where they live. Younger, part-time, lower-wage, contingent, and self-employed workers would all be eligible for benefits.

  • Be funded responsibly and sustainably, without harming other critical government programs. Employers and employees would make small payroll contributions of two-tenths of 1 percent each (two cents per $10 in wages), or less than $2.00 per week for a typical worker. The payroll deductions would go into a dedicated fund administered by a new Office of Paid Family and Medical Leave that would then disburse the benefits when workers need them. With a dedicated funding stream, Congress won’t be able to pit funding for paid leave against other critical programs. Furthermore, the social insurance model allows small businesses that can’t provide paid leave on their own to have access to the same benefits as big businesses, and compete for the same talent.