WASHINGTON—Democrats are renewing their push for a national paid time off policy for medical reasons and caregiving, despite long odds of passing such legislation in the newly divided Congress.
It has been 30 years since then-president Bill Clinton signed into law the Family and Medical Leave Act, which provides 12 weeks of unpaid leave a year for medical and family reasons to workers at larger companies, and bars employers from retaliating against workers for taking it.
A group of Democrats is calling on President Biden to include a paid leave proposal in his coming budget and has offered a package of bills that would create a national 12-week paid family leave system and expand access to FMLA. The U.S. is one of just a handful of countries that doesn’t have a national paid parental leave policy.
“The fact that we still stand on what is now a piece of legislation that has largely remained unaltered for the last three decades is pretty atrocious,” said Rep. Chrissy Houlahan (D., Pa.), who this year co-founded a bipartisan working group on paid family leave with Rep. Stephanie Bice (R., Okla.).
Mr. Biden is hosting an event at the White House on Thursday to mark the FMLA anniversary, featuring Mr. Clinton. White House officials said Mr. Biden would also sign a memorandum that seeks to broaden access to family and medical leave for federal employees. White House officials declined to preview the president’s budget but stressed his support for paid leave in his past budgets.
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