WASHINGTON, DC – Congressional Progressive Caucus (CPC) Co-Chairs Reps. Raúl M. Grijalva (D-AZ) and Keith Ellison (D-MN), released the following statement after the President announced initiatives to push for paid leave including directing federal agencies to allow workers to use up to six weeks after the birth or adoption of a child. 

“We applaud President Obama for his push for paid leave and support of the Healthy Families Act. The wealthiest nation must join the rest of the world in affording mothers and fathers time to spend with their children.  Whether it is for birth or to care for a sick child, there is no question about what is right for American families.

“Offering adequate paid leave is not just morally right, it’s economically smart. Many Americans face the dilemma of what to do when they themselves or a member of their family is sick. Workers without paid sick days must choose to go to work sick or stay home and risk their pay and possibly their job. Allowing paid leave prevents the spread of illness and increases workforce productivity, which benefits employers.

“Paid leave is not a progressive issue—it is a family issue. American workers should never be forced to choose between their jobs and the health of themselves or their families. There is absolutely no reason that Speaker Boehner should not support paid sick and family leave. We urge our friends across the aisle to join us and swiftly pass the Healthy Families Act.” 

CPC member Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-CT) first introduced the Healthy Families Act in 2005, and has reintroduced the bill in every Congress since then. Currently, only three states – California, New Jersey and Rhode Island – offer paid family and medical leave, and one state, Massachusetts will start offering paid sick days in July 2015.

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