At some point, nearly everyone needs time to recover from a serious illness or care for a sick loved one or new child. But the majority of working people in the United States cannot take the leave they need without risking their jobs or economic security. Only 12 percent of the U.S. workers have access to paid family leave through their employers, and less than 40 percent have personal medical leave through an employer-provided temporary disability program. The Family and Medical Leave Act—the only federal law designed to help working people meet the dual demands of job and family—leaves out 40 percent of the workforce and guarantees only unpaid leave, which millions cannot afford to take.

That means millions of workers who develop serious health conditions, have seriously ill family members or become parents are forced to choose between what is best for their families and income they need to cover basic expenses.

That’s why Congress should pass the FAMILY Act—crucial legislation enacting a national paid family and medical leave insurance program that allows people to continue receiving a portion of their wages when they need time away from work for family or medical reasons.