United States Senators Elizabeth Warren and Edward J. Markey, and Representatives Niki Tsongas, Bill Keating, Joe Kennedy III, and Katherine Clark applauded the U.S. Department of Labor's (DOL) award of $117,651 to the Massachusetts Department of Labor Standards to study the benefits of paid family and medical leave programs. Massachusetts was one of four states to receive funding.
"It's tough enough to raise a family and hold down a job, but there's no denying that families that have paid sick time and family leave are more secure," said Senator Warren. "Having a new baby should not be a path to poverty, and working parents who stay home when they are sick should not have to worry about whether they can pay their bills. This federal funding will support important research that can help us improve access to paid leave for hardworking men and women throughout the Commonwealth and give us the chance once again to lead the nation."
"Nearly all workers in Massachusetts and across the country will need to take time away from work at some point to attend to a serious personal or family illness or to care for a new child, but only twelve percent of the American workforce has access to this critical support through their employer," said Senator Markey. "This funding will help Massachusetts estimate the impact of paid family and medical leave programs that can provide critically-needed financial security to workers and their families. I applaud the Department of Labor for helping identify the models that create the kind of compassionate and caring Commonwealth that puts our workers and their families first."
"Hardworking Americans deserve the chance to take care of their families without putting their jobs or their health on the line," Congresswoman Tsongas said. "I applaud the Department of Labor Standards for applying for and winning this grant so that Massachusetts can determine the best way to implement a family and medical leave program. When parents are available to care for their sick children, children recover faster, more serious illnesses are prevented, and children's overall mental and physical health improve."
"The availability of paid sick time and family leave is of utmost importance to families throughout Massachusetts," said Congressman Keating. "As a parent, I understand the importance of being able to take time off of work in order to care for a new child, assist an elderly family member, or recover from an illness without fear of losing wages. The availability of paid sick time and family leave would provide economic security to working parents and serve as an indispensable resource to families who are already facing difficult circumstances. I am glad that the Massachusetts Department of Labor Standards has been selected as a grant recipient to study the benefits of paid sick time and family leave, and I look forward to seeing the Department's conclusions."
"Our working families should never be forced to decide between caring for a sick child or spouse and losing wages or even a job," said Congressman Kennedy. "When faced with the trying circumstances of a loved one falling ill or personal health issues, our workers deserve the understanding and support their situation requires. These funds will help us determine the most effective model for paid family and medical leave, and I commend the Massachusetts Department of Labor Standards for earning this grant."
"Our country's mission to rebuild the middle class is stifled by outdated policies that force working parents to choose between their families' health and the paycheck their job provides," said Congresswoman Clark. "Guaranteed paid family and medical leave plays a critical role in the economic security of our working families. I'm grateful for the Administration's forward thinking vision, and I'm proud of the Commonwealth's role in this important study."
More information about the grant award is available at DOL's website, here.