The Politics of Passing Paid Leave, Finally

As Congress and the White House hash out budget talks, a big question is whether women have amassed enough political clout to ensure federal paid family and medical leave makes the cut.

Women, especially women of color, are most likely to benefit from paid leave, and it is wildly popular among women of both parties. More than one-third of Black workers and nearly half of Latinx workers have no access to any form of paid time off, and low-wage workers, disproportionately women and people of color, are the least likely to have paid sick days.

“Listen, I’m thrilled that it looks like we may get big investments in infrastructure to rebuild roads and bridges and such. But the majority of those jobs will go to white men,” as Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo told Fortune. “That’s great—everybody needs a good job. But COVID should open our eyes to the crisis that women face every day in the labor market, and to the barriers they face to getting jobs and holding down jobs.”

Paid leave is one of those barriers. And since women elected Biden, it’s worth watching whether he’ll ultimately pass the program that would disproportionately benefit them. Advocates, led by Paid Leave for All, are pushing with an ad campaign to keep it from the chopping block.