Businesses pushing Congress to expand paid family leave

Nearly 200 businesses are pressing Congress for paid and more expansive family leave, a sign of the shifting political momentum over U.S. labor policy after the overlapping crises of the coronavirus pandemic exposed workers’ vulnerabilities.

In a letter sent today, executives for such brands as Patagonia, Etsy, Levi Strauss and Danone urged congressional leaders to extend comprehensive paid family and medical leave to all working people, The Washington Post reports.  

Annie Sartor, a senior director at the advocacy group PL+US (Paid Leave for the U.S.), said the pandemic may have helped turn the tide of public opinion—and shift political will—to address the need for additional protections for workers.

When the group started in 2016, “it was pretty unheard of to see these really generous paid leave policies that are more common among employers now,” Santor says. “And then the pandemic hit and everything changed.”  

The letter calls for Congress to create a “permanent paid family and medical leave policy,” but it does not offer specifics. Sartor says it was intentionally left broad but that the group wanted paid leave to address three key areas: leave for parents surrounding the birth of a child or an adoption, people taking time to care for a sick family member, and personal sick and medical leave. Read the full story.