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Letter: Congress must pass paid family and medical leave to benefit American families

Letter: Congress must pass paid family and medical leave to benefit American families

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Congress must pass paid family, medical leave to benefit American families

Just before COVID hit, I became paralyzed due to underlying health conditions. I was hospitalized for over seven months and unable to keep my job. My husband became my primary caregiver and our family’s sole source of income as I battled for my health.

My husband’s job does not offer paid family and medical leave, so he quickly depleted his PTO caring for me and had to take extra unpaid leave to get me to all my appointments. As a result, we’re behind on mortgage payments and could lose our house. Additionally, my son had to drop out of college because we were unable to keep up with the tuition.

Thankfully, I recently got a new job that allows me to work from home. But we have a huge financial hole to dig our way out of. It could take us years to catch up with our bills and get back on steady financial footing. Paid family and medical leave would have provided us with financial security when we needed it most.

As we recognize National Family Caregivers Month this November, I hope Congress will finally recognize the sacrifices family caregivers like my husband make every day and pass paid family and medical leave as part of the Build Back Better Act. This would allow people to take paid time away from work to care for themselves or a family member. Families desperately need the support and security that paid leave would offer and can’t wait any longer for this to pass.

Shamila Beslow

Spotsylvania

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