NEW YORK(CBSNewYork) — Senator Kirsten Gillibrand joined parents and business owners outside of her Manhattan office on Sunday, and urged Congress to pass federal legislation that would create paid maternity leave.
Only 12 percent of Americans have access to paid family leave, Gillibrand said. The senator said that parents should not have to choose between getting a pay check and taking care of their families.
Without leave of any kind Loren Miller, a single mother from Brooklyn was left with few options, WCBS 880’s Jim Smith reported.
“I worked until the morning I went into labor and then sat back down at my computer when my son was six days old,” she said.
Miller said that becoming a parent depleted her savings and put her in debt. Senator Gillibrand said that the current law of twelve weeks unpaid leave covers only about half of the work force.
“Too many of our policies are stuck in the Mad Men era,” Gillibrand said.
She has called for a paid family leave act that would allow every worker to care for a new baby, an elderly parent, or a health issue. It would be funded by a .2 percent salary contribution from employees and companies, or as the senator described it, “about the cost of a cup of coffee” every week.
Gillibrand said that the legislation would allow the U.S. to join every industrialized nation in the world.