Melinda French Gates in TIME: Why Congress Must Pass Paid Family and Medical Leave

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Melinda French Gates in TIME: Congress Must Seize Once-in-a-Generation Opportunity to Pass Paid Family and Medical Leave

In a new piece in TIME, Melinda French Gates, the founder of Pivotal Ventures, explains why the U.S. Congress must pass a national paid family and medical leave policy. Otherwise, she writes, “millions of people every year will continue to face impossible choices between protecting their livelihoods and taking care of themselves and their loved ones.”

The U.S. is the only industrialized country that doesn’t guarantee paid leave of any kind, and the pandemic put a spotlight on just how inadequate and outdated U.S. caregiving policies are. Now is the time, argues Melinda, to enact new ones based on the reality of people’s lives. Paid leave is popular with U.S. voters (three out of four support Congress enacting a nationwide law), and the evidence is overwhelming that a federal paid leave guarantee would benefit both workers and businesses.

Melinda ends her piece by recognizing the one thing about the future that we know for certain: “Babies will be born, aging parents will fall, children and spouses will get sick, and some of us will find ourselves recovering at home from an illness or injury. The question is not whether U.S. workers will need time away from work—it’s whether this is the year Congress will ensure that paid leave is available when they do.”

Read the full essay in TIME.