“It is deeply disappointing that the U.S. House of Representatives’ Committee on Education and the Workforce passed the misnamed Working Families Flexibility Act (H.R. 1406) today. The bill is an empty promise to America’s workers and families, and a step in the wrong direction for the nation. America’s workers and families need the full House to reject H.R. 1406 as the harmful, smoke-and-mirrors legislation it is, and instead pass bills that offer real solutions like paid sick days and paid family leave.
Lawmakers on both sides of the political aisle now acknowledge that people across the country are struggling to meet the demands of job and family and make ends meet. H.R. 1406 pretends to offer the time off people need, but in truth it would mean a pay cut for workers without any guarantee of the time they need to be responsible workers and family members. And it sets up a dangerous, false dichotomy between time and money when working families need both.
But there was a silver lining in the committee’s actions today. Lawmakers sparked a critical discussion about the family friendly proposals the country urgently needs like the Healthy Families Act, which would guarantee workers the right to earn paid sick days so they can care for their health and the health of their families without sacrificing their financial stability. This is the first time the bill has been considered by a congressional committee. It is a measure of how out of touch House leadership is with what families need that the Healthy Families Act is languishing while this so-called flexibility bill advances.
That must change. All members of Congress should reject the Working Families Flexibility Act and support the Healthy Families Act, paid family and medical leave insurance, expanded access to the Family and Medical Leave Act, the Fair Minimum Wage Act, the Paycheck Fairness Act and other proposals that encourage fairer, more predictable and more flexible work hours. These are the advances the nation truly needs.”
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NOTE: On April 11th, Lichtman testified at the Committee on Education and the Workforce’s Subcommittee on Workforce Protections Hearing on H.R. 1406. Her written testimony is available here.