This weekend will mark the 30th anniversary of former President Bill Clinton signing off on the country's family and medical leave law. Now President Joe Biden is looking to build on that legacy by adding a paid option.
In 1993, the Family Medical Leave Act provided workers with up to 12 unpaid weeks off from work in order to tend to family members in dire need or to recover from an illness. The larger issue with the bill as it currently stands is that most Americans simply cannot afford to take three months off from their job with no pay.
"No American should ever have to choose between a paycheck and taking care of a family member or taking care of themselves," Biden said at a press conference.
Experts point to the COVID-19 pandemic as evidence that helping Americans stay afloat during difficult times is actually a boost to the economy. During the height of the pandemic stimulus checks helped many Americans who had recently been laid off. At least 33 million Americans avoided falling below the poverty line because of the payments.
Once people stop working and overall spending declines and tax revenue would take a hit ultimately fracturing the economy.
President Clinton appeared at the White House today and said there is more work to be done on the foundation that he structured three decades ago.
"After all these years, I still have more people mention the Family Leave Act to me than any other specific thing I did [as President]," he said. "There are still a lot of problems that cannot be solved without some form of paid leave."