We should all be able to be there for our families when they need us most. But right now, too many Virginians worry about balancing work and family responsibilities. Working families need the opportunity to take paid leave to receive treatment for a serious illness, support a sick family member, or care for a new child.
When working families have the flexibility to meet their most important responsibilities, they’ll be happier and more productive at work—and that’s better for businesses’ bottom lines and good for our economy. Paid leave means not having to choose between your job and your family.
- In Virginia, even unpaid leave under the federal Family and Medical Leave Act is out of reach for 55 percent of working families. That means Virginians face impossible choices when children are born or adopted and when serious personal or family health needs inevitably arise.
- Paid leave policies improve businesses’ bottom lines by reducing turnover, increasing productivity, and improving employee loyalty and morale.
- Paid leave helps small businesses compete for employees with larger businesses that can afford to pay the entire cost of paid leave on their own.
- Paid leave is a popular policy. According to a national survey released in July about the federal law:
- More than eight in 10 voters – including nearly three-quarters of Republicans and overwhelming majorities of voters of all ages and races, in all regions and at all income levels – support a national paid family and medical leave program that covers all employees and provides family, parental, personal medical and military family leave.
- Seven in 10 voters – including a majority of Republicans – say they are more likely to vote for a congressional candidate who supports a national paid family and medical leave policy.
- Four in five voters – including three in five Republicans – support a national paid family and medical leave policy that covers all people who work.
- According to a Small Business Majority survey of business owners with fewer than 100 workers, seven in 10 small-business owners said they support creating a family and medical leave insurance program funded through employer and employee contributions.
Virginia is a leader in economic growth and job creation. We should follow the example set by six states and the District of Columbia and pass a paid family and medical leave bill that honors hard work and invests in our families.