Senator Murray reintroduces the Healthy Families Act and FAMILY Act to ensure workers across America can earn paid sick days and take the paid family and medical leave they need
***WATCH: Senator Murray rallies with colleagues to reintroduce national paid leave legislation***
Washington, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senator Patty Murray (D-WA), a senior member and former chair of the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP), reintroduced her Healthy Families Act and the Family and Medical Insurance Leave (FAMILY) Act with colleagues in Congress to finally guarantee paid sick leave to workers across America and ensure workers can access paid family and medical leave to take care of themselves and their families—and vowed to keep fighting until the bills are signed into law.
Senator Murray rallied with Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT), Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY), Representative Rosa DeLauro (D-CT-03), advocates, and colleagues in Congress to reintroduce the respective bills outside the U.S. Capitol today.
“No one should have to choose between taking care of themselves and their family and being able to make ends meet. It’s really that simple,” said Senator Murray. “And it is really, really, long overdue. When you are facing the grief and pain of caring for a seriously ill child, sitting in the hospital with a seriously ill parent, or coping with a cancer diagnoses, you shouldn’t be worried about how you’ll make next month’s rent by taking unpaid time off work. When you are welcoming a new member of the family, recovering after giving birth, and facing all the joys and challenges of those first weeks with a newborn, one of those challenges shouldn’t be how quickly you have to rush back to the office.”
“We should be making sure no one has to choose between their family and their job, their family and their paycheck, their wellbeing and their financial stability. That’s what the Healthy Families Act is all about. That’s what the FAMILY Act is all about,” continued Senator Murray. “So you better believe we are bumping paid leave to the top of the agenda, and we are determined to get these bills across the finish line.”
Today, the U.S. remains one of the only countries in the world that does not provide paid time off for short-term illnesses, or paid leave for family and medical needs and emergencies. Currently, 28 million Americans lack any paid sick time at all – including 23% of the private sector workforce. Things are worse for low-income workers and households, which reached a breaking point for millions of Americans during the pandemic. More than 80% of parents do not have paid time off after the birth or adoption of a child, and as many as 53 million people care for family members—unpaid—while holding a job.
From the moment she arrived in the Senate, Senator Murray has been a leading champion in Congress to deliver on paid leave. After working to pass the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) which guaranteed unpaid family and medical leave for all workers when she first arrived in the Senate, Senator Murray has been working nonstop to guarantee paid sick leave to all workers. She first introduced her Healthy Families Act with Congresswoman DeLauro in 2004 and has reintroduced and pushed to pass it every Congress since. Today, she reintroduced the legislation with Senator Sanders, Representative DeLauro, and 120 colleagues in Congress.
The Healthy Families Act would allow workers in businesses with 15 or more employees to earn up to seven job-protected paid sick days each year to be used to recover from their own illnesses, access preventive care, provide care to a sick family member, or attend school meetings related to a child’s health condition or disability. It would also allow workers in businesses with fewer than 15 employees would earn up to seven job-protected unpaid sick days each year to be used for the same reasons—unless their employers choose to offer paid sick days; allow workers who are victims of domestic violence, stalking, or sexual assault to use their paid sick days to recover or seek assistance related to an incident; and provide a simple method for calculating accrued sick time. Workers would earn a minimum of one hour of paid sick time for every 30 hours worked, up to 56 hours per year, unless the employer selects a higher limit.
The FAMILY Act, which Senator Murray reintroduced alongside Senator Gillibrand and Representative DeLauro today, would ensure that every worker, no matter the size of their employer or if they are self-employed or part-time, has access to paid leave for every serious medical event, every time it’s needed. The legislation would create a comprehensive national program that helps meet the needs of new parents and people with serious personal or family health issues through a shared fund that makes paid leave affordable for employers of all sizes and for workers and their families. It would all provide workers with up to 12 weeks of partial income when they take time for their own serious health conditions, including pregnancy and childbirth recovery; the serious health condition of a family member; the birth or adoption of a child; to address the effects of domestic violence, sexual assault or stalking and/or to make certain arrangements arising from the military deployment of a spouse, child or parent.
Senator Murray’s full remarks at today’s rally, as prepared for delivery, are below:
“We are here today because no one should have to choose between taking care of themselves and their family, and being able to make ends meet.
“It’s really that simple. And, it is really, really, long overdue.
“When you are facing the grief and pain of caring for a seriously ill child, sitting in the hospital with a seriously ill parent, or coping with a cancer diagnosis.
“You shouldn’t be worried about how you’ll make next month’s rent by taking unpaid time off work.
“When you are welcoming a new member of the family, recovering after giving birth, and facing all the joys and challenges of those first weeks with a newborn, one of those challenges shouldn’t be how quickly you have to rush back to the office.
“And when you are a survivor of domestic violence—you should be able to prioritize ensuring your safety, securing legal protections, and seeking care, without fearing you have to return to work before you feel safe and ready.
“Anyone who has been in these situations knows, they are hard. Here in Congress, we should be working to make it a little easier.
“We should be making sure no one has to choose between their family and their job, their family and their paycheck, their wellbeing and their financial stability.
“That’s what the Healthy Families Act is all about. That’s what the FAMILY Act is all about. Finally establishing paid sick, family, and medical leave for families all across this country.
“I think every one of my colleagues agrees we have reintroduced these bills too many times—but you lose every fight you aren’t in.
“So you better believe we are bumping paid leave to the top of the agenda and we are determined to get these bills across the finish line.”