The time has come to make a change and support paid family leave for everyone. As President and CEO of the National Hispanic Council on Aging (NHCOA), the leading national organization working to improve the lives of Hispanics older adults, their families, and caregivers, I will be testifying in a public hearing for the Universal Paid Leave Act of 2015 on Thursday, February 11, 2016.
Hispanic older adults face substantial challenges to aging in economic security and in the best possible health. Limited education and English speaking ability, combined with a lack of financial literacy, means that many Hispanics enter old age with little in the way of savings. In 2014, 80% of Hispanics lacked health insurance and 23.6% lived in poverty. Hispanics have the second highest labor force participation rate among non-Hispanic Whites, African Americans, Asian Americans, American Indians, and Native Hawaiians; however, they are overrepresented in low-paying, physically demanding jobs that offer little in terms of health benefits or paid sick days.
Washington, D.C. and its Hispanic population need the Universal Paid Leave Act of 2015. Many of the health and economic barriers that Hispanics face could be lowered by access to paid family leave. Not only will this policy encourage the use of affordable preventative health care, it will also keep workers healthy so they do not develop conditions that are expensive to treat. Paid family leave will help intergenerational households by allowing adult children to take time off to care for their parents or to take them to the doctor. They shouldn’t have to choose between their jobs and their families.
I invite you to join and support paid family leave for a better Washington, D.C. United, we can make a change!
The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of the Diverse Elders Coalition.