One year ago today, advocates, workers, business owners and lawmakers gathered in Washington, D.C., for the first-ever introduction of the Family And Medical Insurance Leave (FAMILY) Act – legislation that would establish a national paid family and medical leave insurance program. It was a historic and energizing moment that symbolized a real commitment to building a more family friendly America.
Since then, we have seen unprecedented activity. In June, the White House hosted a summit that brought together 1,200 leaders, workers and advocates to discuss the need for family friendly workplace policies like paid leave. The president has repeatedly talked about the importance of the issue, and his administration awarded grants to three states and the District of Columbia to study the best ways to implement paid leave. And in Congress, the first-ever Senate subcommittee hearing on paid leave was held in July.
In the November election, despite the fact that some supporters of family friendly policies lost, voters said “yes” to several ballot measures that promote working families’ economic security. And an election night poll commissioned by the National Partnership and the Rockefeller Family Fund made clear that voters overwhelmingly want and need policies like paid family and medical leave – and they support lawmakers who do too.
All of this attention to and growing demand for paid leave this year has positioned us well for further progress at the state level and nationally. These fights are never easy, but America’s working families and their champions in Congress know they are fights we simply must win. That’s why we’re joining with our allies today to celebrate the anniversary of the FAMILY Act’s introduction, to redouble our efforts to secure the bill’s passage, and to tell new and returning members of Congress that paid family and medical leave is on Americans’ holiday wish list this year.
The holiday season is a time for focusing on family and loved ones. And as National Partnership President Debra Ness said one year ago today, “No legislation would do more to make this a family friendly nation than the FAMILY Act.” So join us on Facebook and Twitter using #MyWishList to call for the #FAMILYAct, and be sure to use WEtweet.org/MyWishList to tweet at members of Congress.