Press Release
Written Testimony of Debra Ness — Subcommittee on Workforce Protections

Good Morning, I am President of the National Partnership for Women & Families, a non-profit,
non-partisan advocacy group dedicated to promoting fairness in the workplace, access to quality
health care, and policies that help workers in the United States meet the dual responsibilities of
work and family.

The National Partnership for Women & Families leads a broad, diverse coalition of more than
200 groups dedicated to defending and expanding the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA)
on behalf of workers across the country. The coalition reaches across a wide spectrum of
concerned citizens and includes religious, women’s, seniors, veterans, and disability groups.

Our leadership of this coalition is a natural extension of our original role as drafter of the FMLA
and leader of the broad-based coalition advocating for its passage.

I am especially pleased to be here today because this year marks the 15th anniversary of the
FMLA. Its passage was a watershed moment for government support of working families in the
United States. The law guarantees eligible workers up to twelve weeks of unpaid leave each
year to care for immediate family members or to address serious personal health concerns. By
making job-protected leave available to all eligible workers, and requiring that health insurance
continue through the leave, the law has enabled both women and men to meet their
responsibilities for their families without sacrificing their jobs and long-term economic stability.
The law also helps combat gender discrimination and pernicious stereotypes about gender roles
because both male and female workers can take FMLA leave. The law helps to ensure that
women are not penalized or unfairly denied job opportunities simply because of assumptions
about their family care giving responsibilities. More »

For more information, contact us:

National Partnership for Women & Families logo

National Partnership Media Line
(202) 986-2600

About the National Partnership for Women & Families

The National Partnership for Women & Families is a nonprofit, nonpartisan advocacy group dedicated to promoting fairness in the workplace, reproductive health and rights, access to quality, affordable health care and policies that help all people meet the dual demands of work and family.

More information is available at

For general inquiries, please email