Today marks the reintroduction of the Healthy Families Act in the US Senate and House of Representatives. The Healthy Families Act is a federal bill that would mandate seven days of paid sick leave for all US workers to care for themselves or a sick loved one.
Nearly half of all working Americans lack paid sick time and for those who do have access to it, many cannot use this time to care for ill family members. Of 22 countries with comparable economies, the United States is 1 of only 3 that did not provide any paid time off for workers with short-term illnesses. The situation can be much worse for parents who are LGBT and their partners and children. In states without the freedom to marry and little-to-no recognition of parental rights, LGBT people must depend on their employers to grant the ability to take time off to care for their families. Without a federal mandate, LGBT families, living at the highest proportions in states with no protections, like Alaska, Montana, and Mississippi, simply cannot take time off to care for their families.
The Healthy Families Act ensures that all families are eligible for paid sick leave. Employees would be able to use it to care for themselves or for spouses, domestic partners, biological, foster, or adopted children, stepchildren, legal wards, children of a person standing in loco parentis, biological, foster, or adoptive parents, stepparents, legal guardians, people who stood in loco parentis to an employee when the employee was a child, or any other individual related by blood or affinity.
Thank you to Senator Harkin and Congresswoman DeLauro for reintroducing this crucial bill!
Visit our fact sheet on the Healthy Families Act to learn more about why paid sick days are important for all families.