Delaware paid-leave advocates react to measure’s removal from Biden framework, call for Delaware state bill to pass
WILMINGTON, Del. – Advocates for Paid Family Medical Leave are frustrated after the measure was removed from President Biden’s Build Back Better negotiating framework.
The measure had already been scaled back to 4 weeks from an initial 12 weeks, before being dropped from the bill entirely. Local advocates say it’s a critical blow for a program they say would have helped people not make the choice between their jobs and their health.
“We are the only developed nation without paid family leave, and for months paid family medical leave was part of the build back better package this is something that would have absolutely transformed millions of lives across the country and its something that we at Delaware Cares Coalition have been fighting for,” said Delaware Cares Director Liz Richards.
Richards tells us her organization was created to push for paid family leave locally in Delaware and shifted its activism and lobbying for a national program when it was announced as a provision for the Build Back Better Initiative. Richards tells us if the measure can’t move forward nationally, their focus will shift back to having Delaware pass their own paid family medical leave bill, known as SB1 or the Healthy Delaware Families Act. It was introduced last session and she says they will lobby to make it a priority in January.
“If we aren’t going to see actions from our national leaders to end this national disgrace then Delaware will take action to make sure all families have paid medical leave,” she said.
She says that she has heard countless stories from Delaware women coming back to work too soon from giving birth, or having to work while their child or aging relative was on their deathbed.
“We remain committed and focused on pushing for it here in Delaware to make sure our families have the support they need, because everyone stands to benefit from this we all at one point in time will get sick and we will need help,” she said.