Commentary: Washington, D.C. – Congressional Progressive Caucus Co-Chairs Rep. Mark Pocan (D-WI) and Rep. Raúl M. Grijalva (D-AZ) released the following statement on the 25th anniversary of the enactment of the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA). FMLA, signed into law on February 5, 1993, established the right for many workers to take an unpaid leave from work for a serious illness, adoption, or to care for newborns or family members.
“Twenty-five years ago, Congress made it a little easier for workers to take care of their loved ones without making the difficult decision to choose between their families and their jobs. However, the Family and Medical Leave Act only requires employers to give workers the time off, not to pay them. Far too many workers are excluded under the program, medical and child care costs continue to rise, and working Americans cannot afford to take enough time off of work to meet the needs of their families. The days of employees being forced to choose between work responsibilities and caregiving should be over.
To be the world’s richest nation and yet the only industrialized country that does not provide paid leave to our citizens is shameful. Today, we should be celebrating FMLA as a stepping stone, and working to pass legislation that will provide American families with the tools they need to have successful careers and strong families. The United States needs paid leave that guarantees workers enough pay for enough time to adequately care for their families and return to their jobs at the right time. Americans should never again have to choose between work and family. We can honor this important anniversary by passing comprehensive legislation to provide equitable and inclusive paid leave that is flexible enough to truly meet the needs of today’s families.”
The Congressional Progressive Caucus (CPC) is the largest caucus within the House Democratic Caucus, with over 70 members standing up for progressive ideals in Washington and throughout the country. Since 1991, the CPC has advocated for progressive policies that prioritize working Americans over corporate interests, fight economic and social inequality, and promote civil liberties. The CPC champions progressive policy solutions like comprehensive immigration reform, a $15 national minimum wage, fair trade, gun violence reform, debt-free college, and making the federal government a Model Employer.