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Paid Family Leave Advocates Confident Of Federal Passage This Year

U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand of N.Y.
Susan Walsh
U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand of N.Y.

U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand of New York says she is confident that the paid family and medical insurance leave bill that she has championed for years will likely become law this year.

Permelia Toney-Boss is with Voices of Workers. She had surgery twice for lung cancer and she was taken care of by her daughter.

“I really wanted someone there that I felt comfortable with because at that time I didn’t feel very safe,” Toney-Boss said.

Toney-Boss said she benefited from New Jersey’s paid leave law that the federal bill is modeled after. The legislation would allow workers to take up to 12 weeks of paid leave to care for a sick family member.

U.S. Rep. Rosa DeLauro, of Connecticut, is chair of the U.S. House Committee on Appropriations and another proponent of the bill. She said it’s going to happen because Democrats are now in control of Congress and the White House.

“We are going to work it out so that it happens. And we’ve got the support of the administration on making sure we can get it across that finish line,” DeLauro said.

Gillibrand said the pandemic has highlighted the urgent need for paid family and medical leave.

“But we know that the need won’t end when the pandemic does. Every worker at some point will need access to paid leave to care of a sick child, a sick spouse, a sick family member,” Gillibrand said.

The lawmakers say they would like to attach their bill to the emergency COVID-19 economic relief bill being considered. It would allow workers to take up to 12 weeks of paid leave to care for a sick family member.

As WSHU Public Radio’s award-winning senior political reporter, Ebong Udoma draws on his extensive tenure to delve deep into state politics during a major election year.