February 24, 2021
Pressley, DeLauro, Colleagues Urge President Biden to Include Robust Paid Leave Protections in Next COVID Relief Package
WASHINGTON – Congresswomen Ayanna Pressley (MA-07) and Rosa DeLauro (CT-03), Chair of the House Appropriations Committee, today led 96 of their House colleagues in writing to President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris urging them to include meaningful and permanent paid leave in the next COVID-19 recovery package, and partner with Congress to make these protections a reality in America.
In March of last year, Congress quickly passed an emergency paid sick and childcare leave program, which prevented more than 15,000 COVID-19 cases per day, helped workers and families on the brink hold onto their jobs, care for their families, safely quarantine and recover from a deadly virus, and help small businesses stay afloat. However, as many as 106 million workers were not included in the program, predominantly women, low-wage and essential workers of color, who are already least likely to have paid leave through their employers.
This emergency paid leave policy has since expired, and while President Biden prioritized its reinstatement in the American Rescue Plan, the budget reconciliation process does not support this critical policy. The current bill includes voluntary tax credits for businesses who choose to provide paid leave.
In their letter, the lawmakers described paid leave as an issue of public health, economic recovery, and racial, gender and economic justice, noting that Black and Latinx women are disproportionately supporting their families as frontline workers, and often without paid leave critical to care for a sick family member or take leave when they are sick.
From the onset of the pandemic, Congresswoman Pressley has led efforts in Congress to extend and expand emergency paid leave protections.
In April 2020, Reps. Pressley and DeLauro, along with Senators Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) and Patty Murray (D-WA), introduced the PAID Leave Act (Providing Americans Insured Days of Leave Act), a comprehensive emergency paid sick, paid family and medical leave bill to provide additional financial support to our nation’s most vulnerable workers and businesses during the COVID-19 pandemic and future public health emergencies.
In May 2020, Rep. Pressley and Rep. Haley Stevens (MI-22) led a group of 17 freshman Members of Congress calling on Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi to expand paid family and medical leave as Senate negotiations begin on the next emergency relief package.
Last month, Reps. Pressley and DeLauro and Sens. Gillibrand and Murray sent a letter urging the incoming Biden administration and congressional leadership to extend and expand the COVID-19 emergency paid leave provisions that expired at the end of last year.
# # #