Reimagine the social contract in America: caring for our loved ones

This post originally appeared on the NHCOA blog.

This past Thursday, I had the great pleasure of attending the Family Values @ Work annual convening at the Ford Foundation in New York City. It is always great to hear the voices of those who share the goal of protecting the rights of working families. The auditorium was bursting with supporters and advocates for #paidleave and #paidsickleave—two issues that the National Hispanic Council on Aging (NHCOA) has supported and will continue to work towards for families across our nation.

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For many of these hard-working employees, paid leave and paid sick leave would mean the world for them and their loved ones. Oftentimes, these individuals serve as caregivers for older adults in their families—providing them with the comfort of a home and care that they need as they grow older. The responsibilities that come with being a caregiver may sometimes call for individuals to take off from work to attend to their elderly family members and loved ones, which may result in additional financial stress and difficulties if employers do not allow for policies like paid leave and paid sick leave. In some cases, the absence of paid sick leave and paid leave policies could mean life or death.

We need to make paid sick leave and paid leave the new normal, not only to facilitate the care of our older adults, but for the security and well-being of those who work full-time jobs yet still find time at the end of their day to care for older adults that need extra assistance as well. Paid sick leave and paid leave would allow employees to be great parents to their kids while also being great children to their parents. These policies would give back to the working families who have tirelessly served and built upon the foundation of our country while upholding standards of family-friendly workplaces to carry on for future generations—shaping a workforce culture of fair treatment for everyone.

 

The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of the Diverse Elders Coalition.