In times of personal difficulty, direct care workers face a difficult dilemma: how to care for themselves or their families without jeopardizing their earnings or even their jobs? In states with laws that provide paid family and medical leave, workers can take paid time off to deal with serious health issues, care for a sick loved one who needs support, or bond with a new child. Unfortunately, few states have such laws and the comparable federal protections are unpaid. In this slideshow, we describe why paid family and medical leave matters to low-income workers, including direct care workers, and recommend what states can do to better support this workforce.
There is currently no federal provision for paid family and medical leave in the United States.
States should enact paid family and medical leave laws that support all workers.
States should create paid family and medical leave laws that account for the realities of direct care jobs.
Allison Cook is the New York Policy Manager at PHI. Her work focuses on New York policy issues affecting direct care workers, including Medicaid, public benefits, training, career advancement, and workforce development.
We launched a two-year campaign to help solve the country's caregiving crisis.