Sánchez Calls for Paid Family Medical Leave and Child Care for all Latinos
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, Congresswoman Linda T. Sánchez testified at the Ways and Means Committee hearing, “In Their Own Words: Paid Leave, Child Care, & an Economy That Failed Women.”
At the hearing, working moms from across the country shared their experiences during the COVID-19 pandemic – including working from home and caring for their children and other family members while navigating pandemic restrictions. Ms. Braga, a mother of 2, spoke about working from home while caring not only for her children but for her mother as well. Congresswoman Sánchez asked her about the struggles she faced over the last year:
Shortly before the hearing, Congresswoman Sánchez, along with colleagues from the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, penned a letter to the President and Vice President calling for paid family medical leave for all Latinos.
As a mother and caregiver for her own mother who suffers from Alzheimer’s disease, the Congresswoman has long been an outspoken advocate for paid family and medical leave.
Her home state of California has led the way in providing workers with paid family leave, but Congresswoman Sánchez has continuously called for a national program that all Americans can rely on when life throws its most challenging curveballs.
You can read the full letter sent to President Biden and Vice President Harris here:
President Biden and Vice President Harris:
We applaud your administration’s focus and commitment to working families, including your proposal for 14 weeks of emergency paid leave in the American Rescue Plan and your commitment to create a national paid leave plan that includes up to 12 weeks of comprehensive paid leave in your Build Back Better plan. Access to paid leave is a critical issue for all families, but this need is especially dire for families of color and the Latino community because of existing racial disparities in healthcare, wages, economic security, and access to family and medical leave.
As you are aware, the US is the only industrialized nation that has no federal paid family leave policy. A staggering 113 million workers in America don’t have access to a single day of family and medical leave. As a result, the cost and responsibility of supporting families falls disproportionately on those who can least afford it: women, people of color, and low-wage working people. While paid family and medical leave would benefit all workers, it’s impact on Latino workers and their families is even greater.
Not only do Latino workers often hold low-wage jobs that don’t provide paid leave benefits, but they are also more likely to stop working to care for their aging family members. While the existing Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) allows some workers to take 12 weeks of unpaid leave in some jobs, the FMLA doesn’t cover 40 percent of today’s workforce. Among Latino workers, the disparity is even greater. 73 percent of Latino adults are either ineligible for or cannot afford to take unpaid leave, compared to 60 percent of white adults.
The urgent need to prioritize paid leave has never been more clear as we continue to confront this dire pandemic and economic recession that has left millions of families reeling from acute health, caregiving, and financial challenges and has disproportionately impacted Latino and other families of color. Limited, emergency paid leave is now expired. The American Rescue Plan took a first step forward in providing voluntary tax credits for businesses who choose to provide it. Now we stand ready to work with you to enact meaningful and permanent paid family and medical leave so that it is finally a reality for working families in our communities.
The pandemic has created an acute crisis on top of a chronic emergency for the Latino community. We must take bold and aggressive steps to address the health and economic inequities that affect our communities. Passing a comprehensive, permanent federal paid family and medical leave policy will provide health and economic security for all families and will be vital to building back better. We look forward to working with you to achieve this goal.