U.S. Rep. Lauren Underwood, D-Naperville, co-sponsored the FAMILY Act, which would create a universal, gender-neutral paid family and medical leave plan to cover all workers for any medical event.
The Family and Medical Insurance Leave Act would also ensure workers can take up to 12 weeks of paid leave for a pregnancy, the birth or adoption of a child, recovery from a serious illness, or to care for a seriously ill family member, according to a news release.
"The majority of working people in the United States don't have the option for paid family leave through their jobs, which means a mom can't care for a sick child or newborn without the risk of losing her job, or a son can't care for aging parents without putting his own family's economic security at risk," Underwood said.
The U.S. is the only industrialized country that does not guarantee its workers some form of paid leave, the release said. Recent studies have shown the lack of access to paid family and medical leave costs nearly $21 billion that otherwise could be spent on housing, child care or other everyday items.
The FAMILY Act would create a self-sustaining family insurance program for all workers through payroll contributions from employers and employees (two cents per $10 in wages). The fund would provide up to 66 percent wage-replacement for up to 12 weeks.
Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-New York, and Rep. Rosa DeLauro, D-Connecticut, co-sponsored the bill with Underwood.