What the shutdown taught us about paid family leave

By Olivia Golden and Wendy Chun-Hoon

OPINION — The recent government shutdown opened the nation’s eyes to what it means to live paycheck to paycheck. Many federal workers and contractors had to make difficult choices between putting food on the table or paying their bills. What these government employees endured is, unfortunately, a sobering reality for many low-wage workers every day.

When you add to this mix a new baby, a seriously ill parent, or a cancer diagnosis requiring time away from work for tests and treatment, you have a recipe for disaster for low-wage workers. Taking time off without pay just isn’t an option — it means no rent, no heat, or no medications.

The United States continues to be among the handful of nations without any national paid family or medical leave law. We need the Family and Medical Insurance Leave Act, or FAMILY, which is being introduced again this week.

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