A group of nearly 200 businesses worth a combined $539 billion is urging Congress to expand access to paid family and medical leave in the next spending package.
The signers of a letter sent to Capitol Hill on Tuesday include Spotify, Pinterest, Levi Strauss & Co., Patagonia, Lady Gaga’s makeup company Haus Labs, JJ Abrams’s production company Bad Robot and Gwyneth Paltrow’s Goop.
“We cannot emerge from this pandemic and remain one of only two countries in the world with no form of national paid leave,” the letter states. “We need a policy that is inclusive and that protects all workers equally, regardless of what kind of work they do, where they live, or whom they love. Congress must work with the administration to build a framework for a permanent paid family and medical leave policy, so we're never unprepared for a crisis again.”
Two of the COVID-19 relief packages already signed into law have included paid family and medical leave for some workers at a reduced pay rate.
The companies and advocates at groups such as PL+US are now pushing to expand it in the massive spending proposal the Biden administration is assembling.
Advocates hope to extend the number of months of paid leave, expand access to medical and caregiving needs, allow for incremental leave, ensure wage replacement of at least 80 percent and guarantee job protection and anti-retaliation protections.
“The pandemic transformed the politics of paid leave, and the massive surge in business support for leave we see in this letter is one of the surest signs we’ve seen of that fact so far,” said Annie Sartor, PL+US’s senior director of business partnerships.
“The COVID crisis allowed millions of Americans to see how broken our care infrastructure has been for years," Sartor added. "This letter makes it clear that the business community isn’t just ok with federal action on paid family and medical leave, they want Congress to act right now.”