Why companies are pushing Congress to increase paid family and medical depart

About 200 companies signed a letter this week calling on Congress to end perpetual paid family and sick leave, calling it “one of the critical solutions to our country’s economic recovery.”

At the beginning of the pandemic, around this time last year, Congress passed a law requiring many companies to offer two weeks of paid sick leave and twelve weeks of paid family leave for COVID reasons. But it was only temporary.

Let’s take a look at why companies are interested in making government sponsored family vacations permanent.

One of the lines in the letter to Congress reads: “In short, paid vacation is good for business.”

And it was good for multinational alcohol company Diageo, said HR manager Laura Watt. “It can help us attract great talent. And it really helps with bonding. “

Two years ago, according to Watt, Diageo started offering all new parents six months of paid leave. “And the feedback I got was simple, they couldn’t believe we were so progressive, they talked about it with family, with friends. And it creates a lot of pride and loyalty to the organization. ”

A federal paid vacation would help companies like Diageo that already offer it and those that don’t, said Annie Sartor of advocacy group Paid Leave for the United States.

“Big corporations support federal policies because they know it helps subsidize the cost of paid vacation. So embrace it. For small businesses, it helps them compete, ”said Sartor.

Over the past year, corporate support for paid family and sick leave has increased, said New America’s Vicki Shabo. “We can no longer pretend that what happens at home is separate from what happens in our work life.”

Almost 3 million women left the job market during the pandemic. And many are women of color.

“This is a critical gender equality issue, a racial justice issue, and it would help get women back into work,” Shabo said.

Shabo said paid vacation is something that Congress could make permanent as part of the next recovery package.

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