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American Public Health Association applauds Obama administration proposal to expand access to family, medical leave for US workers
Announcement calls for paid sick leave for US workers, expanded access to paid family leave
Washington, D.C., January 15, 2015 — The American Public Health Association commended the Obama administration’s proposal today urging Congress to adopt the Healthy Families Act, which would allow millions of working Americans to earn up to seven days of paid sick leave per year.
The president also signed a presidential memorandum directing federal agencies to allow up to six weeks of paid sick leave for employees with a new child; called on Congress to pass legislation giving federal employees an additional six weeks of paid parental leave; and proposed funding to encourage states and municipalities to develop paid family and medical leave programs.
“Ensuring access to paid sick and family leave is vital to strengthening the well-being of our workers and their families, especially low-income workers who can least afford to get sick,” said APHA Executive Director Georges Benjamin, MD. “Not only will it give workers more flexibility in caring for their families, but allowing sick workers to stay home will also help prevent the spread of disease and allow working families time to access preventive care.”
The United States falls behind many other developed countries when it comes to providing paid family and medical leave, and is the only developed country that does not require employers to provide paid sick leave. According to a 2013 U.S. Department of Labor survey, only 12 percent of workers in the U.S. have access to paid family leave through their employers, and less than 40 percent have access to personal medical leave through an employer-provided temporary disability program.
APHA supports the Healthy Families Act and adopted a position calling on Congress to pass legislation that would expand paid medical and family leave for U.S. workers. In August 2014, APHA signed on to a letter urging members of Congress to co-sponsor the Family and Medical Insurance Leave Act of 2013, or FAMILY Act, which would create a national family and medical leave insurance program.
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The American Public Health Association champions the health of all people and all communities. We strengthen the profession of public health, share the latest research and information, promote best practices and advocate for public health issues and policies grounded in research. We are the only organization that combines a 140-plus year perspective, a broad-based member community and the ability to influence federal policy to improve the public’s health. Visit us at www.apha.org.