Gillibrand’s paid family leave legislation gains support from Facebook COO Sandberg, Sen. King

Kirsten Gillibrand

Sandberg endorses FAMILY Act during Bloomberg TV interview; King becomes second Independent in Senate to cosponsor legislation

This week Senator Gillibrand’s FAMILY Act picked up more national support from Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg and U.S. Senator Angus King, one of the only Independents in Congress. The FAMILY Act would create a universal, gender-neutral paid family and medical leave program for all workers for the cost of a cup of coffee per week.

“I am grateful for Sheryl Sandberg’s leadership on this issue and the support of Senator Angus King,” said Senator Gillibrand. “Congress needs to finally come together and create a national paid family and medical leave program for middle class families. It’s not just morally wrong to force people to choose between a paycheck and caring for a family member, it’s bad for the economy and bad for business. Congress must catch up to the business leaders all across the country, from executives like Sheryl Sandberg at large companies, to small business owners who support the FAMILY Act because it’s good for business, rewards work and protects workers. Let’s get it done.”

The United States is the only industrialized nation without a national paid leave program, and only 14 percent of American workers have access to paid family leave through their employer. Without a national paid family leave program, the U.S. economy loses almost $21 billion a year, women lose $324,000 in wages and retirement benefits over a lifetime, and men lose $284,000. A lack of a national paid leave program hurts businesses; studies show that businesses incur an additional 20 percent cost to recruit and retrain new workers replacing others who left because they did not have paid leave.

The FAMILY Act creates a self-sustaining family insurance program for all workers – young and elderly, single and married, and men and women, regardless of the size of their employer. Modeled after successful state programs, and costing only as much as a cup of coffee per week, the fund would provide up to 66 percent wage-replacement for 12 weeks in the event of a serious personal or family medical emergency.

In a Facebook post following her Bloomberg TV interview, Sandberg wrote:

People shouldn’t have to choose between being a good employee and taking care of themselves and their families. For businesses, this isn’t a tradeoff — when you invest in your workers, they invest in you.

21st century companies need 21st century commitments to their employees, including contractors. That means offering paid parental leave to both women and men. It means helping people care for their families and themselves by offering paid family and medical leave. It also means being there for people in the worst times of their lives by offering paid bereavement leave. I’m proud of the commitments Facebook has made to our people in all of these areas and I believe all companies have an obligation to step up and do their part when they have the ability to do so.

We also need strong public policies. An important step in this direction is the FAMILY Act, a bill introduced by Senator Kirsten Gillibrand and Representative Rosa DeLauro. It proposes 12 weeks of paid time off for new parents — both women and men — and covers all forms of childbirth, adoption, and foster care. It also offers 12 weeks for employees with serious medical conditions or who are taking care of sick family members. I’m grateful to them for leading the way and proposing a plan that would provide the much-needed protection and support all working families deserve.

I was glad to have the opportunity to sit down with Bloomberg‘s Emily Chang Stull to talk about how our country and companies can do more to support people when they need it most. #LeanIn

Leave a Reply

You can use these HTML tags

<a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>