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Survey: National Paid Leave Garners 83% Support in Battleground States

Proposals to guarantee paid time off to care for a sick family member are gaining support as a result of the pandemic. (iStockphoto)
Proposals to guarantee paid time off to care for a sick family member are gaining support as a result of the pandemic. (iStockphoto)
May 6, 2020

SACRAMENTO, Calif. -- Some 83% of voters in three states considered key to the 2020 election support the idea of a national paid family leave program, according to a new survey.

In the poll -- taken in Arizona, Iowa and North Carolina -- almost 90% of women, African-Americans and Hispanics said they support family leave. Katie Bethell, executive director of the Paid Leave for the U.S. Action Fund, also noted that support stands at 80% among non-college-educated voters.

"These constituencies are important in the context of the election, and in the context of who is providing care for people in this crisis," she said. "These are the communities who really understand firsthand why paid family and medical leave is so important."

One in four people who responded to the survey said they've already had to take unpaid family leave during the COVID-19 crisis or think they'll need to take it soon. The FAMILY Act, which would establish a national paid family-leave program, awaits a vote in Congress.

Opponents claim such a program would be too costly, but Bethell said the pandemic has made it painfully clear why the United States needs a permanent national solution for paid family leave.

"We propose an insurance system run by the federal government -- the same as unemployment insurance and Social Security -- that everybody pays into," she said, "and then, that money is there when you need it."

California was the first of eight states plus the District of Columbia to establish its own state-run system for paid family leave.

Details of HR 1185, the Family and Medical Insurance Leave (FAMILY) Act, are online at congress.gov.

Disclosure: Paid Leave for the U.S. (PL+US) contributes to our fund for reporting on Early Childhood Education, Family/Father Issues, Livable Wages/Working Families and Women's Issues. If you would like to help support news in the public interest, click here.
Suzanne Potter, Public News Service - CA