Democrats Unveil Family and Medical Leave Legislative Package

By Savannah Hulsey Pointer
Savannah Hulsey Pointer
Savannah Hulsey Pointer
Savannah Pointer is a politics reporter for The Epoch Times. She can be reached at
February 2, 2023Updated: February 2, 2023

House and Senate Democrats gathered on Feb. 1 to unveil a family and medical leave legislative package that would establish paid family and medical leave and modernize the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA).

Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro (D-Conn.) led the bicameral group, saying during the press conference that “family and medical leave has transformed our workplaces.”

In addition to DeLauro, Sens. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y), Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.), Tina Smith (D-Minn.), and Reps. Richie Neal (D-Mass.), Bobby Scott (D-Va.), Sean Casten (D-Ill.), and Lauren Underwood (D-Ill.) have lent their support to the initiative.

They made the announcement of their modernization of the family and medical leave legislative package while celebrating the 30th anniversary of the original FMLA.

According to DeLauro, “nearly 15 million workers take FMLA leave each year … but too many people are still left behind. Nearly 2.6 million people each year need leave but do not take it because of fear of losing their job. An estimated 8.4 million people under FMLA’s family definition are only protected for certain family members but not all close loved ones, leaving their jobs unprotected. About ten and a half million workers each year need leave but do not take it, and two-thirds, nearly seven million, said it is because they could not afford unpaid leave.”

Other lawmakers spoke on the key issues in the FMLA that they consider to be most needful in an updated employment law. Gillibrand asserted that many have had to choose between caring for family members and providing their families with basic necessities. The New York Democrat also claimed the United States is the only industrialized country without this type of paid leave for workers.

According to DeLauro, support for paid medical and family leave jumped before the 2022 midterm elections. She said that because “we work for the American people,” Congress should “stand up for paid family leave.”

The state of California has already implemented a Paid Family Leave (PFL) program that provides benefit payments to those who have to take time off from work. Included in those who can receive the benefits are those caring for a seriously ill family member, individuals who have recently had a child, and those who participate in a qualifying event because of a family member’s military deployment.

According to the California PFL webpage, those eligible receive benefit payments for up to eight weeks, and payments are around 60 percent to 70 percent of weekly wages earned 5 to 18 months before the start date of one’s claim.