Duckworth, Durbin help reintroduce paid Family & Medical Leave legislation

WASHINGTON, D.C. - U.S. Senators Tammy Duckworth (D-IL) and Dick Durbin (D-IL) joined U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) and 32 of their colleagues in reintroducing the Family and Medical Insurance Leave (FAMILY) Act on Wednesday.

The legislation would establish a comprehensive paid family and medical leave program that will provide 12 weeks of paid leave for workers who need time to care for a newborn or adopted child, a seriously ill family member or their own serious health condition.  

“Far too many Americans still face a choice between having a career and taking time off to care for a newborn or tend to an ailing loved one,” Duckworth said. “Every new parent should be able to take those exhausting, emotional, irreplaceable first few weeks with their baby without having to forgo their paycheck or lose their job, just like I was fortunate enough to do last spring after giving birth to my second daughter. And no one should be fired for taking time off to care for a loved one, like my husband was after he used all of his unpaid leave to be by my hospital bedside after I was wounded in Iraq. I’m proud to join Senator Gillibrand in introducing this legislation to expand paid leave for all Americans and fix the status quo that is currently forcing so many women out of the workforce and families into poverty.” 

Duckworth has advocated for women and families during both her service in the House and Senate. Last October, Duckworth’s bipartisan Friendly Airports for Mothers (FAM) Act to provide nursing mothers with private, clean and accessible lactation rooms was signed into law after passing both the House and Senate overwhelmingly. 

“In Illinois, even unpaid leave under current federal law is inaccessible for 60 percent of working people. This means Illinoisans are continuously faced with tough choices when starting families and dealing with personal and family health issues,” Durbin said. “The FAMILY Act means more mothers, fathers, and American workers will have the opportunity to care and provide for themselves and their families while keeping their jobs. It’s time to make paid leave more accessible to everyday Americans.”

Duckworth also wrote an op-ed last year describing her experience as a working mother and calling on Congress to take action on family-friendly legislation, including the FAMILY Act and her own Child Care Access Means Parents in Schools Reauthorization Act, which would increase access to on-campus child care for student parents.  

For more information the FAMILY Act, click here

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