No paid family leave in the US is inexcusable



Patryk Sikora

It is shameful that the United States is lagging behind 186 countries when it comes to paid family leave. The United States is one of six countries that does not offer any type of paid national leave to its citizens.

While it appears that paid family leave has been completely scrapped from President Joe Biden’s “Build Back Better Plan,” citizens should continue to fight for it to get the United States  out of the dark ages.

The League of Nations proclaimed that working mothers are entitled to 12 weeks of paid maternity leave in 1919. More than 100 years later, the United States remains the only rich country in the world without it.

The closest this country has come to anything resembling the 1919 declaration s is with The Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993, which gave workers 12 weeks of unpaid leave.

With more than enough experience through the COVID-19 pandemic, it should be obvious why some American workers may need paid time off to take care of family members.

Not only is national paid leave a popular program with Democrats and Republican voters, but it may have also helped stop the spread of COVID-19 if Americans had the option of staying home, according to a survey conducted by the National Partnership for Women & Families.

The problem is most Americans can’t afford to stay home when unpaid. The NPWF further found that 66% of voters would face serious financial hardship if they had to take a few months of unpaid leave.

This comes as no surprise as many Americans live check to check.

Not a single Republican senator has come out in support of national paid family leave despite claiming to be the party of “family values.” Republicans have consistently failed to support legislation that would make life much easier on families, such as the Child Tax Credit.

While a common retort may be that companies already offer this on their own and don’t require a national mandate, only 25% of U.S. companies offered any type of paid family leave, New York Magazine reported.

Those firms typically do not employ low-wage workers, the people who would need it the most.

Americans that are expecting a child or dealing with the death of a loved one must keep going to work, despite their circumstances. Even with vacation and sick days, there is not enough paid time off to tackle the difficult events that happen in nearly everyone’s life.

Since California implemented a similar program in 2002, most companies reported a no cost increase associated with the program. It is time for the United States to catch up with not only California, but also the rest of the world.