80 Percent of US Voters Want Government to Enact Paid Family and Medical Leave

A new poll shows that 80% of American voters want the federal government’s creation of a paid family and medical-leave program. surveyFriday release

A progressive polling firm Navigator found that 89% of Democrats, 76% Independents and 70% of Republicans support the creation of a federal program that would allow people to take paid leave from work to care for serious illnesses or loved ones. This would include sick or disabled family members, newborns or newly adopted children, as well as those who are pregnant. Only 12% are against.

A majority (52%) of voters — including 68% of Democrats, 57% of Black Americans, and 61% of Hispanic Americans — would be more likely to vote for a candidate who publicly supports paid family and medical leave, according to the survey.

In addition, over half (51%) of voters — including 65% of Democrats, 58% of Black Americans, and 61% of Hispanic Americans — would be more motivated to vote in the upcoming midterm elections if Congress supported the passage of a national paid family and medical leave program, the poll found.

“Our nation’s leaders must stop ignoring what the data tell us time and time again — that paid family and medical leave is a critical support that families need, it is what Americans want, and it is what they deserve,” Jocelyn Frye, president of the National Partnership for Women & Families, said in a statement.

Dawn Huckelbridge is the director of Paid Leave for All. Common Dreams that the new survey “mirrors what Paid Leave for All Action has seen in midterm battleground states — 4 in 5 voters support paid family and medical leave, and this is an issue that motivates all voters, but particularly the progressive base and key persuadable groups like Independent women.”

“Paid leave is an issue that all candidates should be running on — and then delivering,” Huckelbridge added.

More than three-quarters (75%) of respondents deemed six arguments in support of paid leave convincing.

Voters were drawn to the fact that the U.S. is among seven countries that do not have federally guaranteed paid family and medical leaves. The average length of maternity leave in the world is six months, far exceeding the U.S.

The need for a federal paid family and medical leave program was clear to an overwhelming majority of respondents after they were informed that just 15% of workers in the U.S. — typically high-wage managers — receive such benefits through their employers.

Research that showed paid leave policies increase the likelihood of women returning to work after childbirth, and decrease dependency on public assistance programs, were also convincing.

The three most persuasive arguments for paid time were focused on how it works:

  • This improves household well-being and includes better early childhood development, as well as greater economic security for parents.
  • Improves health outcomes for infants and mothers as well as the elderly.
  • This increases workplace morale and decreases employee turnover.

In a Common Dreamsopinion piece published Thursday by Vicky Badillo from the Workers Defense Project, Austin wrote that “it’s time for our lawmakers to deliver what so many people are calling out for: a national paid leave policy.”

“Paid leave is a human right and a matter of dignity — it’s something every single one of us should have access to, regardless of who we are, where we live, or what we do,” Badillo continued. “Lives are on the line.”

“There is no economic and racial justice without access to paid leave,” she added. “Ensuring people have the time they need to be with and care for themselves and their families is morally the right thing to do — and it also makes sense for our economy and our national well-being. Investing in paid leave will help our families, our communities, and our nation.”

These poll results are based upon online surveys among 1,001 registered voters, which were conducted between September 8th and September 11th.

This story has been updated to include Dawn Huckelbridge’s statement, director of Paid Leave for All.