WASHINGTON, Nov. 1, 2017 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- As National Family Caregivers Month begins, leading researchers on aging, work and family issues wrote to Congress today to urge lawmakers to establish a national paid family and medical leave policy. Warning that the financial and emotional strains on family caregivers and older adults will worsen, they call for a policy like the Family And Medical Insurance Leave (FAMILY) Act, which would create a national paid family and medical leave insurance program.
"These distinguished academic experts from 61 institutions in 25 states and D.C. are speaking out for meaningful paid leave because our country is woefully unprepared for the caregiving crisis that lies just ahead," said Dr. Jacquelyn James, lead author of the letter and co-director of the Center on Aging & Work at Boston College.
Data show the number of family members available to provide care will plummet as baby boomers transition from providing family care to needing it. An aging workforce also means more people will need time away from their jobs to address medical issues.
"With so much at stake for family caregivers and those who need care, it is critically important that Congress heed the research that shows the urgent need for paid family and medical leave," said Dr. Jennifer Greenfield, assistant professor at the University of Denver Graduate School of Social Work. "Millions of working people serving as family caregivers are set up for a future without adequate resources to provide for their own retirement and long-term care needs."
"We applaud the signers of this letter for pushing for a paid leave plan that addresses the full range of care needs people face," said Debra L. Ness, president of the National Partnership for Women & Families. "The FAMILY Act is the only paid leave proposal before Congress that would provide protections for workers and families at all stages of life."
The FAMILY Act would establish a national paid family and medical leave insurance program funded through small contributions from both employers and employees. It would allow all workers to earn a portion of their pay when they need time off to recover from illness or care for a family member.
SOURCE National Partnership for Women & Families