For Edie, it was a serious infection that landed both her and her five-week-old baby back in the hospital. For Rhonda, it was a surgery that should have kept her off her feet for six weeks. For Gabriela, it was the frantic search for a diagnosis as her father got sicker and sicker and ultimately died of cancer.
Most of us at some point need to take several weeks or months away from our job – for a new child’s arrival, a serious accident, or the end a loved one’s life. But very few employers provide enough paid leave for such situations.
So Edie dragged herself back to work before either she or her tiny daughter were fully healed. Rhonda returned to her physically demanding caregiving job four weeks too soon – and still had to turn to her church and a food bank to pay her rent and put food on the table. And Gabriela lost most of her income during that difficult summer caring for her father.
Our state legislature is considering adopting a paid family and medical leave program that would ensure all Washington workers have the time they need to keep themselves and their families healthy and economically secure. In fact, paid family leave polls at such high levels with Washington voters that rival Democratic and Republican versions are on the table.