From Paid Leave for the US (PL+US) Action:
PL+US Action Endorses McAuliffe, Ayala, Herring in Virginia for Support of Paid Leave
National Paid Family and Medical Leave Organization Praises Virginia Democrats for Fighting for Families and centering paid leave in the election
Today, Paid Leave for the US (PL+US) Action endorsed Virginia gubernatorial candidate Terry McAuliffe, lieutenant governor candidate Hala Ayala, and attorney general candidate Mark Herring, candidates who are committed to ensuring every Virginian has access to paid family and medical leave and support federal paid family and medical leave policy that would support Virginians welcoming a new child, needing to care for themselves, or acting as a caregiver to a family member.
While following previous endorsements made by PL+US Action during the 2018 and 2020 elections, this is the first time the group has backed candidates in Virginia, a critical off-cycle bellwether, and signals the important role that support for national paid leave could play with key electoral constituencies in the 2022 midterm elections.
“Terry, Hala, and Mark have a plan that puts Virginia’s women and families first. Their strong support for a robust paid family and medical leave policy underscores their dedication to taking on the she-cession caused by the pandemic with a commonsense policy agenda that works for working people,” said Molly Day, Executive Director of PL+US Action. “Businesses are also clamoring for paid family and medical policy, and by using their voice to advocate for a robust plan, Terry, Hala, and Mark are taking action to ensure that Virginia businesses remain competitive nationally and around the world.”
In Virginia, according to a recently released report, paid leave policies would increase Virginians’ income by an estimated $1.2 billion a year and increase the number of workers taking paid leave annually by nearly 495,700. 15 Virginia businesses, including have signed letters sent to Congressional leaders urging passage of paid leave legislation with the help of Paid Leave for the U.S., the Main Street Alliance, and Small Business Majority.
“Paid family and medical leave will help families across Virginia, and as governor I will get it done,” said Terry McAuliffe. “We’ve got to create good jobs and invest in our workforce and that means ensuring every Virginian has access to paid sick, family, and medical leave while accelerating the minimum wage increase to $15. I’m proud to have the support of PL + US and look forward to working with them on the paid leave that is vital for Virginia’s best-in-the-nation workforce.”
“As a single mother of two who worked minimum wage at a gas station while I was pregnant with my first child, I know firsthand the struggles of working Virginians,” said Delegate Hala Ayala, Democratic nominee for Lieutenant Governor. “I also know that a healthy workforce means a healthy economy. That’s why, as a leader in the House of Delegates, I fought tirelessly to advance legislation to support working families, including paid family and medical leave for Virginians. This is the floor, not the ceiling. As Lieutenant Governor, I’ll build on my work in the General Assembly. I’m proud to have PL+US with me in this fight.”
“Virginia’s workers are the backbone of our economy and I’ve worked hard to ensure our working families are protected in our Commonwealth. That is why I believe every worker should have access to paid, sick family, and medical leave,” said Attorney General Mark Herring. “As Attorney General, I’ve fought to ensure Virginia is the best state in the nation to live, work and raise a family. I am incredibly proud to have the support of PL + US as we continue this important work.”
The United States is the only wealthy country on earth without paid leave, and it is costing us. As of March of 2020, just 20% of private-sector workers had access to paid leave. Among low-wage workers – disproportionately women and people of color – only 8% had access to paid leave.
The COVID-19 pandemic has both laid bare and exacerbated the cost of this absence, with results that are by now familiar: Over two million women left the workforce in 2020, a ‘she-cession’ that could take a decade to recover from. Women dominate fields like leisure and hospitality, fields vulnerable to virus surges like the one we are currently seeing.
What is worse, with our rapidly aging population, the need for paid leave in the U.S. only continues to grow. One in six Americans cares for an aging relative, and 15% are the “sandwich generation,” caring both for a child and an older relative.
After decades of effort, the US is now poised to adopt a scalable, equitable Paid Family and Medical Leave policy, proposed in the Biden Administration’s Build Back Better plan and debated now by Congress as part of the budget reconciliation package. The next few weeks will determine whether parents have the time they need to care for a new member of their family, whether workers have time to care for their own health, and whether women’s careers will always be at risk when disaster strikes.
About PL+US Action
Paid Leave for the U.S. Action Fund is a 501(c)(4) advocacy nonprofit fighting to win paid family and medical leave for everyone in the U.S. We’re electing candidates that will champion paid leave for all working people. To learn more, visit plusaction.us