As a business leader, the American Families Plan and the introduction of Paid Time Off for all American workers is something I thought was only available in dreams. Just by proposing the idea, this administration has moved that dream to a tangible reality. The American Families Plan not only helps businesses provide benefits they may have struggled to in the past, but it also is good for everyone who makes use of the benefits. Expanding paid leave for all companies is good for the economy and for the people. I urge Congress to pass this legislation to support our great employees.
As a proud graduate of a Head Start Program, the universal access to two years of Pre-K is a tremendous step in investing in our children’s and our Nation’s future. The fact that it is two years is also not lost on me. As a child in Elementary School, people would often ask me, “How did you get so smart?” My response was, “Well, I did Preschool twice.” While I thought I was providing a modest answer, it later occurred to me that this answer could be interpreted in a variety of ways. Now, I see just how influential those two years can be. Head Start provided not only education and social interaction, but free transportation to the school, free meals, and someone to tell me to brush my teeth after lunch. I only now realize how powerfully independent it is for a four-year-old to get on a bus by themselves.
As the daughter of a mother who has made $2.13 for well over thirty years and who does not have access to paid leave, I look to the American Families Plan to finally support workers like her. I want to live in a world where workers do not fear retribution for taking a sick day. A world so many low-wage workers cannot fathom.
As someone who makes policy that affects over 200 peoples’ lives every day, being a good leader means never losing sight of the individual. Policies are made to address trends, but they affect individuals. The American Families Plan sees people. It sees our struggles and our needs. No one should have to choose between a sick child, their own health, or a paycheck. Workers need the flexibility to address their concerns outside of the workplace without the extra burden of going unpaid for the time off. Treating people with dignity also encourages retention, which is good for the bottom line. Having workers who can take the time they need without fear allows for a more productive and healthy workforce.