Former Clinton at the White House
It has been three decades since Bill Clinton signed the National Family and Medical Leave Act into law. The former U.S. President returned to the White House on Thursday, February 2 to talk about what the law has meant to the country.
Bill Clinton and Joe Biden at the White House
Clinton spoke of her landmark Family and Medical Leave Act, and advocated that Congress support President Joe Biden’s initiative to go further and get paid leave included in federal law.
30 years anniversary
The law Clinton signed guaranteed many U.S. workers up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave to recover from serious illness or childbirth, or to care for sick family members, one of the biggest legislative achievements of his years in office.
Now it’s time to go one step further
Clinton, who signed the law just two weeks into her presidency, said it was time to go further and give U.S. workers paid leave to bond with a new child or care for loved ones.
«There are still a lot of problems that can’t be solved without some kind of paid leave,» Clinton said.
Will continue to try
Biden advocated for, but did not get, paid leave for workers in 2021. On Thursday, he signed a memo calling on federal agency heads to support access to unpaid family and medical leave for federal workers in their first year on the job. Under the law, workers are not eligible for unpaid leave until they have been on the job for a year.
Biden wants to go further
In early 2021, Biden proposed extending the family leave law to give workers up to 12 weeks of paid paternity, family and personal illness leave, and to ensure that workers have three days of bereavement leave per year.
Improvement of labor rights
«No American should have to choose between their paycheck and caring for a family member or themselves,» said Biden, who recalled that the United States is one of the only industrialized countries that does not offer some form of paid leave to its workers, this being essential in the aforementioned cases.