Long-term care What's Buzzing

The FAMILY Act would ensure paid leave to workers caring for older family members

Written by Diane Archer

Across the country, millions of working people must give up their jobs or take unpaid leave to be caregivers for older relatives, putting their financial well-being at risk. Advocates are now engaged in a campaign to urge Congress to create a comprehensive, national paid leave program through the Family And Medical Insurance Leave (FAMILY) Act. The Act would ensure that workers are not financially penalized for leaving work to care for themselves or family members with serious health conditions.

Around 40.4 million Americans serve as unpaid caregivers for older adults. More than six in ten of them are working people and nearly half of them work full-time. But, not even one in five working people (just 19 percent of workers) has paid family leave through their employers. As a result, when people need to stop working or to reduce their workload to care for an aging relative, they often face a significant loss of income.

The FAMILY Act would enable working people to take up to a total of 12 weeks each year (60 working days) to care for themselves or a family member with a serious health condition. And, they would still receive a portion of their wages. Workers could take the paid time away from work however they please, all at once or intermittently.

Workers could earn as much as two-thirds of their monthly wages up to a capped amount. And, the FAMILY Act would cover all workers, no matter the size of their employer. The Act covers full-time, part-time and self-employed workers.

The FAMILY Act would not require government funding. The Act would create an affordable and self-sustaining national family and medical leave insurance fund to cover all workers. Workers and their employers would pay .02 cents on every $10.00 earned, less than $2.00 a week (less than $100 a year) for most workers. All workers would be required to participate in the program.

Representative Rosa DeLAuro (D-CT) introduced the FAMILY Act, H.R. 1185 in the House and Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) introduced the FAMILY Act, S. 463 in the Senate.

We need a groundswell of support for this Act. If you support the FAMILY Act, please sign this petition.

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