By Melinda French Gates, co-chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, founder of Pivotal Ventures, and best-selling author of The Moment of Lift
The pandemic has highlighted what we already knew – the US is overdue for national paid medical and family leave. The US is the only industrialized nation without paid leave, and 75% of voters support a paid leave policy. Our lack of paid leave costs American families an estimated $22.5 billion in lost wages every year, escalates turnover and job vacancies, and makes the difficult task of caring for a loved one even more challenging. As small business owner Molly Moon Neitzel shared in her testimony before Congress, “With the ongoing pandemic and Main Street still on the path to recovery, paid leave is not an ‘extra.’ It’s an essential must-have.” This year, Congress must take action and pass paid family and medical leave.