MAJORITY RULE 4Our Families Are Supported

We are no longer forced to make impossible and unfair choices between family and work. Providing the best care for our families, from infancy to old age, is possible and affordable for all of us.

Over the course of the pandemic, more than 3 million American women have been forced to leave the workforce.

Over the course of the pandemic, more than 3 million American women, who are both disproportionately women of color and overrepresented in the education, child care, service, and healthcare industries, have been forced to leave the workforce.

When the world as we knew it shut down due to the COVID-19 pandemic, our nation was forced to look critically at how our societal infrastructure, or lack thereof, has failed women in our roles as both workers and caregivers. Researchers estimate that the lack of family-friendly policies that are available in other high-wealth nations accounts for nearly one-third of the decrease in women’s labor force participation rates in the United States. As one sociologist put it: “Other countries have social safety nets. The U.S. has women.”

The fourth Majority Rule recognizes that no woman should have to choose between the family that they love and the paycheck that they need. When our families are supported, society benefits from women’s talent, labor, and skills.

States can support caregivers, for example by:

Click to hear from Colorado State Representative Yadira Caraveo

Case Study: Sick Leave for Colorado Employees Rep. Yadira Caraveo (Colorado)

Everyone should be able to take time off to recover from an illness or to take their sick child to the doctor. During the 2020 legislative session, at the height of COVID, Colorado legislators prioritized a suite of bills responding to the pandemic, including sick paid leave.

State Representative Yadira Caraveo (District 31, Adams), along with former State Representative KC Becker (District 13, Boulder), State Senator Jeff Bridges (District 26, Arapahoe), and State Senator Stephen Fenberg (District 18, Boulder) introduced SB 205 – Sick Leave For Employees that requires all employers in the state, regardless of size, to provide each of their employees paid sick leave for reasons related to the COVID-19 pandemic and any future public health emergency that necessitates an employee’s absence from work. The bill also allows employees to use accrued paid sick leave in cases of mental or physical illness, injury or health condition, whether for the employees themselves or a family member, as well as if the employee or their family member has been a victim of domestic abuse, sexual assault or harassment and they need to be absent from work for purposes related to such crime. The bill was passed with bipartisan support and enacted in July 2020.

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Click to hear from Maryland Rise Executive Director Myles Hicks

Case Study: The Time to Care Act in Maryland

No one should have to choose between caring for their family and going to work. But that’s exactly what our workforce does each and every day. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, only 23 percent of workers have access to paid family leave. And fewer than 40 percent of workers have paid leave for short-term disabilities.

“A lot of people are one sick family member away from not being able to pay their bills,” says Myles Hicks, Executive Director of Maryland Rise, a nonprofit that advocates for economic opportunities for all residents. Hicks served as the campaign manager for the Time to Care Coalition. The Time to Care Coalition advocated for years before Maryland legislators introduced the Time to Care Act (SB 275 and HB 8) in 2022, a measure that creates a paid family and medical leave program, guaranteeing nearly all Maryland employees – regardless of employer size, including full-time and part-time workers and private and public sector workers – the right to up to 12 weeks of paid, job-protected leave to bond with a new child, care for a seriously ill loved one, deal with their own serious health needs, or address needs in connection with military deployment. Maryland Governor Larry Hogan vetoed the bill but the legislature voted to override Hogan on April 9, 2022. Maryland is now the tenth state to enact paid family and medical leave.

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