Meghan Markle calls senator in push for paid family leave

The paid family leave policy was jettisoned last week after senator Manchin refused to support it

Namita Singh
Wednesday 03 November 2021 11:56
Kirsten Gillibrand unable to convince Manchin after paid family leave

Senator Kirsten Gillibrand recently received a phone call from Meghan Markle making inquiries about getting more involved in the fight for paid family leave in Congress.

The call from Ms Markle came days after she wrote an open letter to Senate majority leader Chuck Schumer and House speaker Nancy Pelosi in support of the policy, reported Buzzfeed.

The paid family leave proposal is a part of president Joe Biden’s social safety net bill, which advocates up to 12 paid weeks off to recover from major illness, childbirth or to take care of a family member.

Senator Gillibrand also lobbied for the policy before it was jettisoned last week, after fellow Democrat and senator Joe Manchin declined support for it.

Speaking to the media on Thursday before the proposal was completely eliminated from the social safety net package, Senator Gillibrand said that she was speaking with Mr Manchin about how the leave policy can be salvaged. She told the media that he was concerned about the cost and its effect on Social Security and other programmes.

Ms Gillibrand had said that this is going to be a continuous conversation. “If we can get it in this deal, amazing. If we cannot, I will keep working on it until we pass paid leave.”

Markle had put her weight behind the bill as she advocated for paid leave for parents.

In an open letter on 20 October, the Duchess of Sussex acknowledged the role of the pandemic in exposing “long-existing fault lines in our communities.” She noted that millions of women have dropped out of the workforce at “an alarming rate” so that they could care for their children.

“The working mom or parent is facing the conflict of being present or being paid. The sacrifice of either comes at a great cost,” the duchess wrote.

Reflecting on her own childhood, Markle recalled she felt “lucky” to be eating a $4.99 salad at Sizzler because she was aware how hard her own parents had worked.

“I knew how hard my parents worked to afford this because even at five bucks, eating out was something special, and I felt lucky,” she wrote, before recalling how she’d begun working herself when she was 13.

“No family should be faced with these decisions. No family should have to choose between earning a living and having the freedom to take care of their child,” said the duchess as she emphasised the need for paid family leave policy.

According to US News, the US is the only developed country without a national paid family leave policy, while just nine states and Washington DC have enacted paid leave policies over the last decade.

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