Stories From Veterans and Military Families Highlight the Impact Paid Family and Medical Leave, Part of the Build Back Better Act, Would Have on Military Life
Washington, D.C. – Today, the Campaign for a Family Friendly Economy, the Elizabeth Dole Foundation, Family Values @ Work, VoteVets and ZERO TO THREE launched a storybook of testimonials highlighting the life-changing impact comprehensive paid family and medical leave would have on veterans and military families. The stories illustrate how crucial it is that Congress pass paid leave into law as part of the Build Back Better Act to support Americans who put their lives on the line and the families who sustain them.
As David Lucier, an Army Special Forces veteran, shares in the storybook, “Inevitably, employed military spouses shoulder the weight of preparing for and managing daily life, including juggling household tasks, finances, and child care. And when a service member returns from deployment wounded, physically or mentally injured, or ill, family members often take on the role of caregiver … navigating their loved one’s recovery, rehabilitation and reintegration without adequate support systems.”
Virginia Delegate Dan Helmer, who served in Iraq, Afghanistan, and South Korea, shares, “As a soldier, I’ve seen first-hand how the lives of family members are impacted when a loved one is injured through their service or in war. I’ve also seen spouses struggle with finding new work after a move required by the military because of a lack of child care options. Paid family and medical leave and affordable childcare are not just pro-family, they are pro-veteran.”
“The pandemic created new challenges for families supporting members of the military, from closures of daycares, to virtual schooling,” said Amanda Sears with the Campaign for a Family Friendly Economy. “Members of Congress should listen to these veterans and their families and make sure paid family and medical leave is included in the final Build Back Better Act.”
“Every Member of Congress will claim to be pro-veteran,” said Jon Soltz, co-founder and chairman of VoteVets. “These stories show what a critical lifeline comprehensive paid family and medical leave would be for veterans and military families. The question is, will Congress have the courage to guarantee this policy is available for working Americans?”
“We have a responsibility to care for our servicemen and women beyond their tours of duty,” said Josephine Kalipeni, executive director of Family Values @ Work. “When they join, we promise to take care of them and their families in recognition of their sacrifices. When they return, they need time for Veterans Affairs appointments, as well as time to care for sick loved ones or children out of school. In addition to time to adjust, rest, and spend time with family, so many of our military personnel return fighting mental health challenges that require intense and ongoing care. And their caregivers face unique challenges, and will need adequate time to care for them. If Congress doesn’t include paid leave in the Build Back Better proposal, we will be failing on our promise to care for those who risked their lives to protect our democracy.”
“As Congress negotiates the final details of the Build Back Better Act, we are proud to stand with military and veteran families in calling for the inclusion of paid family and medical leave in the final package,” said Dr. Myra Jones-Taylor, Chief Policy Officer at ZERO TO THREE. “It’s not enough to merely thank them for their sacrifices. We must show them through the inclusion of robust programs, like paid leave, that will provide their families and babies the support they need.”