The Oct. 18 editorial “Time off that works” rightly argued that all U.S. workers deserve guaranteed paid leave to address a serious health condition or to care for a family member or new child. Unfortunately, the editorial misrepresented my bill, the Family and Medical Insurance Leave Act, or Family Act.
The implication that wealthy people would disproportionately benefit is false. As the editorial stated, benefits are capped at $4,000 per month. This means that lower-paid people would receive a greater percentage of their earnings as a benefit. And the bill would consolidate these gains by making it illegal to fire or discriminate against anyone who intends to apply for, applies for or uses benefits.
The Family Act would not add one dime to the deficit. Benefits and administration would be paid for by very small contributions from employers and employees, scaled in proportion to their earnings. Workers would typically contribute just $1.60 per week.
The Family Act is a modern, workable model that draws upon lessons from successful programs in California, New Jersey, Rhode Island and around the globe.
Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) is far from the bill’s only influential supporter. It has 106 co-sponsors in the House and 19 in the Senate, in addition to lead sponsor Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.). Last month, a group of 203 business school deans and professors called on Congress to pass it. We should do so without delay.
Rosa DeLauro, Washington
The writer, a Democrat, represents Connecticut’s 3rd Congressional District in the House.