OP-ED: Yael Smiley and Kimberly Perry: Family, medical and caregiving leave are essential for all of us

Photo of John A. Wilson building by Chris Kain/DC Linehttps://thedcline.org/2020/05/21/yael-smiley-and-kimberly-perry-family-medical-and-caregiving-leave-are-essential-for-all-of-us/

DC Action for Children Executive Director Kimberly Perry and DC pediatrician Dr. Yael Smiley wrote about the importance of Universal Paid Family Leave in a recent op-ed in The District Line.

The COVID-19 crisis reinforces the need for inclusive, accessible programs for public health and public benefits. Fortunately, the District is almost ready to launch a new program that will help. 

DC’s new Universal Paid Leave Program is slated to launch July 1. As public health experts and advocates, we have been working toward this moment since 2015. In a few short months, nearly everyone who works in our city will be able to take paid time away from work to care for themselves and their loved ones when serious illness or injury strikes.

Ideally, we would have had a program like this in place long ago. The United States is virtually alone in the developed world in failing to provide guaranteed health care and adequate support for people with debilitating illnesses or injuries. The large majority of Americans wish we did have these kinds of programs, and the vast majority of District residents and voters support the Universal Paid Leave program.

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May 21, 2020