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Capitol Police officers who defended Congress on Jan. 6 receive the Congressional Gold Medal; Senate examines the threat of domestic terrorism; and a champion of workers' rights passes away.

Advocates Renew Push for National Paid Leave Policy

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Tuesday, March 30, 2021   

DES MOINES, Iowa -- Talks continue in Washington on another stimulus-style package to help the U.S. recover from the pandemic, including transportation infrastructure improvements.

A coalition said it's not just crumbling roads and bridges that need a federal boost and the jobs that come with it.

Organizers say it's time for the U.S. to invest in the nation's care infrastructure by adopting a permanent paid family leave policy.

Dawn Huckelbridge, director of the Paid Leave for All campaign, said the nation can't walk away from the crisis without one.

"You know, we talk about front-line workers and essential workers and the sacrifices that families and caregivers have made," Huckelbridge observed. "This is how we honor that, by passing a permanent law to protect them."

While a temporary paid leave policy was included in a previous stimulus bill, advocates contended working families will struggle in the long term, because fewer than ten states require it, not including Iowa.

Opponents of the idea said many employers have their own policy, and a requirement could harm small business owners.

Sue Dinsdale, executive director of the Iowa Citizen Action Network, said paying into a federal fund would provide stability for businesses in the long run because they could retain quality workers by offering the benefit.

"It'll make businesses stronger, and it offers better equality for everyone," Dinsdale argued.

She added even though states such as Iowa adhere to requiring 12 weeks of unpaid leave through a federal law adopted in 1993, there are uneven results of employers providing compensation with any leave.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported only about 20% of Americans have access to paid family leave.

Disclosure: Paid Leave For All contributes to our fund for reporting on Livable Wages/Working Families. If you would like to help support news in the public interest, click here.


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In the United States, home-care workers, mostly women and people of color, earn on average only $12 an hour. (Adobe Stock)

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