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February 12 marks the introduction of the Family and Medical Insurance Leave Act (FAMILY Act) into both houses of Congress. The FAMILY Act would create a national paid leave program that would cover working people across the country. It would allow moms and dads paid time off to care for or bond with a new child, partners and spouses time to care for a sick loved one and military caregiving. The Act is respectful of the diversity of modern families and recognizes that the need for family leave can extend beyond the traditional parent-child relationship, for instance, ensuring that a grandparent can take time to care for an ailing grandchild. The Act would provide much needed support to the 83 percent of workers without family leave through their employers and the less than 40 percent that have medical leave through an employer-provided disability insurance program.

Paid leave is widely popular with the public with voters across the country recognizing the need for a national paid family leave program. States and cities helped build momentum for paid leave at the national level through their own successful paid leave programs. Like the FAMILY Act, many of these programs require a small contribution from both the employee and the employer. Opponents to paid leave often claim that these policies are job-killers and impose an undue burden on businesses. Evidence shows, however, that these state and city programs have been very successful without hurting employers.

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