July 30, 2021
All across the country each year, millions of working people learn they are ill, are faced with a loved one’s emergency or welcome a new child and can’t take the time they need because they do not have paid family and medical leave. Hearing the news that you have cancer, that your child has been born with a serious health issue, or that your parent is entering hospice is devastating. Welcoming a new child is exhausting, even when it is also joyful. The devastation and exhaustion are only made worse when taking time from your job to receive or provide care means choosing between your health and wellbeing or your paycheck.
The COVID-19 pandemic has also highlighted just how urgently paid leave is needed to keep our communities safe, healthy and financially stable. Fortunately, we now have the opportunity to make sure that having paid leave access is the new normal for all families across the U.S.
Paid leave for everyone is on the horizon, as the movement builds on the momentum of state paid leave policy victories, makes the undeniable business and health case for leave, and communicates the urgency to build back better from a crisis that exposed longstanding flaws in the way we support caregivers. Paid leave for all will make us more resilient. It is a key to economic security, public safety and our growth as a country.
President Biden has called on Congress to enact a comprehensive national paid family and medical leave program as part of his Build Back Better agenda. And leaders in Congress have drafted proposals and made this a priority. Members of Congress and their staff members will spend the rest of the summer and the early part of the fall crafting legislation that must cover every working person who needs to care for a new child or a seriously ill loved one or themself, in a way that helps workers and businesses alike.
While policymakers do their work, advocates, businesses and people across the country must do ours. We need to highlight the urgent need for paid leave, the impact it will make and the imperative for swift action. And we need to ensure that the paid leave program that lawmakers design ultimately centers workers’ lived experiences and those most in need of paid leave access.
That’s why the Paid Leave for All campaign and its partners are hitting the road. From August 2nd through 13th, Paid Leave for All will be rolling through 14 stops in 10 states to share and hear stories from workers and businesses, to celebrate state successes, and to amplify the need for paid family and medical leave for all working people and families in the United States. Each stop will center the voices of people who desperately need paid leave, and the growing coalition fighting to make the protection of federal paid leave a reality. Campaign advocates, worker leaders, supportive businesses and allies will join with federal, state and local officials to call for action on paid leave now.
Tour participants — including us! — will be blogging from the campaign’s kick-off in Rhode Island through its conclusion in Arizona. In between, we’ll share insights, photos, videos, and more from stops showing how and why paid leave helps everyone — all working people, their families, smaller and larger businesses and the economy. For our health, our families, our economic security. For gender, racial and economic justice. There is no stronger legacy we can leave each other after the year we’ve all had. We need paid leave for all, now.
The views and opinions expressed by the authors of this series are their own and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of New America.
Vicki Shabo is the Better Life Lab’s senior fellow for paid leave policy and strategy and a volunteer advisory board member for the Paid Leave for All Campaign.
Raven Dorsey is the Paid Leave for All Campaign’s program coordinator and is the campaign’s lead staffer for the Paid Leave for All bus tour.
The 2021 Paid Leave For All Bus Tour
August 2, 2021
August 3, 2021
Albany, New York
August 4, 2021
August 5, 2021
August 6, 2021
Charleston, West Virginia
August 9, 2021
August 10, 2021
Colorado Springs, Colorado
August 12, 2021
Las Vegas, Nevada
August 13, 2021