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July 11, 2024

Pressley Joins Paid Leave for All, Colleagues in Day of Action for National Paid Family and Medical Leave Policy

New Polling Shows Paid Leave is Top Issue for 4 in 5 Women Nationwide 

Presser Video | Presser Photos | Reception Video

WASHINGTON – Yesterday, Congresswoman Ayanna Pressley (MA-07) joined Paid Leave for All, Glamour, colleagues and advocates for a Day of Action to mark the significant milestones in the ongoing fight for a national paid family and medical leave policy. Paid Leave for All and Glamour announced growing support for their demands that policymakers finally commit to passing paid leave and give all working people the right to care for themselves and their families without losing a paycheck, along with releasing other new research findings and major new initiatives.

At a Capitol Hill press conference, Rep. Pressley shared her experience as her mother’s caregiver during her battle with Leukemia, discussed the need to build a just America that cares for its people, and called on Congress to pass a national paid leave program. Rep. Pressley also joined coalition members for an evening event to celebrate the progress made and thank partners for their commitment to paid leave and a new vision for families in America.

“It’s time we build a just America that cares for its people and supports every family through massive transitions and major life events – and that starts by passing paid leave for all,” said Rep. Pressley. “This is popular and necessary public policy, and I am grateful to the Paid Leave for All coalition, Glamour, and everyone who has shared their stories and pressed for a day where we live up to our ideals. As a former caregiver to my mother during her battle with Leukemia, this work is deeply personal and I am honored to be a part of this growing movement and labor of love.”

Video of the press conference is available here and photos are available here. For video of Rep. Pressley’s remarks during the evening event, click here.

According to a national poll conducted by YouGov exclusively for Glamour, four in five women said that paid family and medical leave was important to their vote in this year’s presidential election. When broken down by party lines, 89% of Democrat-leaning women voters and 68% of Republican-leaning women voters said this issue was important when voting this election. The survey also found that nearly half of American women returned to work within six weeks of giving birth.

“The path to lowering costs for families and building a stronger, more just economy for everyone starts with paid leave,” said Democratic Whip Katherine Clark. “It’s time for us to follow the lead of every one of our peer nations and guarantee Americans the support they need for a quality life — where taking time off to care for your loved one will not cost you your job. It’s time for an economy that works for working families.”

“I founded the Dads Caucus because dads need to do more of our part fighting for policies like paid leave that support families. I know personally just how challenging the lack of paid leave can be for families working hard just to make ends meet because as a kid, I got sick with pneumonia and my parents had to take shifts off work to take care of me. It nearly bankrupted my family. Now, it pains me to hear similar stories from my district, and across the country, because it does not have to be this way,” said Congressman Jimmy Gomez.  

“The majority of Americans agree that the impossible choice between the paycheck that supports a family and the care that sustains it must be eliminated,” Ways and Means Committee Ranking Member Richard E. Neal said. “With the help of Paid Leave for All, Glamour, and the fifty thousand folks who signed this petition, the momentum for paid leave to unlock opportunity and build a society that cares for one another is clear. Last Congress, the Ways and Means Committee came closer than ever before, passing legislation to provide 12 weeks of universal, comprehensive paid family and medical leave out of Committee. Next Congress, it’s going all the way to President Biden’s desk.”

“Without universal paid leave, millions of Americans must choose between their livelihood and the health and well-being of themselves and their families. Unfortunately, the United States continues to have the sad distinction of being the only industrialized nation without this essential program,” said Senator Gillibrand. “I was proud to join this strong group of lawmakers and advocates in an effort to change that. We have legislation that would establish America’s first national paid family and medical leave program and I will continue to work to pass it for the future of our families, our middle class, and our country.”

“Millions of Americans are working hard every day to figure out how to be there for aging parents, care for a sick family member, or tend to a newborn baby without risking their jobs and livelihoods. No one in this country should be forced to make that choice,” said Senator Tina Smith. “We need to pass paid family and medical leave so that everyone has the freedom and the opportunity to take care of their family in the way that they know best, without sacrificing their very economic stability and life.”

“It’s way past time that working families are given the financial security they need to take care of their loved ones,” Senator Ron Wyden said. “We don’t just owe it to the fifty thousand people who signed a petition and made their voices heard, but also to every single parent who is forced to juggle bills and family. Thanks to Paid Leave for All and Glamour, we can finally start breaking ground on putting families first nationwide.”

“This election year, we want to be very clear that issues like paid family and medical leave, care — these issues of freedom and family are top of mind for voters from all walks of life,” said Dawn Huckelbridge, Director of Paid Leave for All. “As our petition states, ‘There is a human cost to the lack of paid leave, and families are paying it.’ Disproportionately, that means women, women of color most of all. Women will decide this election. And this year, Paid Leave for All Action is choosing not just to bet on them, but to invest in them.” 

“Every day our nation is without a comprehensive federal paid family and medical leave program is a day when our economy and our hearts suffer,” said Kristin Rowe-Finkbeiner, Executive Director and CEO of MomsRising. “Moms are grateful to Glamour and Paid Leave for All, and all the members of Congress who are supporting the call for paid leave. We especially need it now that our reproductive freedoms are under such extreme assault. Moms know that the same Republican leaders who are taking away our fundamental reproductive rights are standing in the way of the care infrastructure policies – including paid family and medical leave – our nation needs. A federal paid leave program would be a win-win-win for our families, businesses, and economy.”

Throughout her time in Congress, Rep. Pressley has led efforts in Congress to extend and expand emergency paid leave protections. 

  • In October 2021, Rep. Pressley and her colleagues urged President Biden to defend robust paid family and medical leave provisions in the ongoing negotiations over the Build Back Better Act. 
  • In April 2021, Rep. Pressley introduced the COVID-19 Safe Birthing Act, bold legislation to provide critical protections and access to care for pregnant people during the COVID-19 pandemic. 
  • 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 part of the HEROES Act. 
  • In April 2020, Reps. Pressley and DeLauro, along with Senators 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.
  • Rep. Pressley has also consistently called for expanded paid family and medical leave to be included in federal COVID-19 relief and infrastructure packages.
  • Rep. Pressley has also made the case for robust federal investments in childcareliving wages for early educators, support for the Head Start program, paid leave, and other policies that support families across the country.