Last week, the powerful Senate Finance Committee held a hearing on paid leave in its subcommittee on Social Security, Pensions, and Family Policy. The hearing lifted up the critical need for paid leave and how our current patchwork of paid leave policies fall short of supporting all infants and families. It confirmed what we already know: there is strong support for paid leave—from Senators, from business, and from families.
The lack of access to paid family leave is a public health crisis. Right now 1 in 4 new moms return to work within 2 weeks of giving birth — a staggering statistic that impacts infant and maternal health outcomes, child development and the overall economic health of families and communities.
Congressional hearings are just the first step in the process of crafting legislation. It is a chance for Senators and their staff to hear from expert witnesses, receive comments from their constituents (you!), and ask their questions about policy options for addressing paid leave. This was a critical moment to ensure our elected officials understand how why paid leave is needed to ensure all children have the strongest start to life.
Unfortunately not all paid leave policies are created equal. Some paid leave policies fall short of ensuring that ALL working families have access to paid leave. 1,000 Days supports Congress’ efforts to advance comprehensive and equitable paid leave for ALL working families, regardless of where they live or where they work. Read 1,000 Days’ position on paid family leave.
Now the real work begins: moving legislation through the full Congress. We need to keep up the drumbeat and use this hearing’s momentum as an opportunity to lift up the words of families across the country and to advocate for a strong national paid leave policy that supports families during the first 1,000 days.