How CREDO grantee Paid Leave for All is fighting to win paid family and medical leave for all Americans

Note from the CREDO team: This May, Paid Leave for All is among three amazing groups that will receive a share of our monthly grant. Funding from the CREDO community will help the organization’s coordinated effort to pass a federal law ensuring paid leave for all working people by scaling its campaign, holding Congress accountable, growing its power—and ensuring paid leave gets over the finish line.

Read this important blog post from Dawn Huckelbridge, Founding Director of Paid Leave for All, then click here to visit to cast your vote to help determine how we distribute our monthly grant to this organization and our other amazing grantees this May.

Thirty years ago, the United States Congress passed the Family and Medical Leave Act, a milestone piece of legislation that has allowed hundreds of millions of people to hold onto their jobs while they cared for themselves or their loved ones. But it was meant to be just the first step toward the paid leave the rest of the world takes for granted. Paid Leave for All is here to change that.

FMLA is 30 years old—and now we are one of only six countries in the entire world that still ensures no form of paid leave for its workers. Think about your last 30 years; the babies in your world who have been born. Their first smiles, the sound of their first laugh. The illness and injuries you and your loved ones have sustained, and survived. The rehab and recoveries. The people whose hands you’ve held as they fought, and as they passed. 

These are the moments that make up life. The moments that make us human—across political party, race, gender, geography. And uniquely in America, most of us miss them. Today in America, three in four workers have no access to paid family leave through their jobs; one in four women have gone back to work within two weeks of giving birth; one in five retirees have left the workforce earlier than planned to care for an ill family member.

But it does not have to be this way, and the good news is we are on the cusp of change, closer than ever to finally passing paid leave in the United States. In 2019, a group of organizations came together with the idea of launching a collaborative campaign to finally get this policy over the finish line, to become bigger than the sum of their parts. They developed working groups and plans for communications, field organizing, government relations, policy and research. These leaders believed in mission over ego, progress over organizational politics. We launched Paid Leave for All at the end of that year and started building, not knowing that just months later we would be hit by a global pandemic. 

However COVID did not slow us down—it put the work into fast forward. While the campaign was still getting off the ground, and many of us were caretaking full time, we knew that lives and livelihoods were at stake in a country without paid leave. And over the last three years we have made more progress together than in decades prior. We passed our country’s first temporary paid leave law of any kind. Our campaign multiplied in size. We grew a powerful community and a new model of advocacy campaign. We developed the first coordinated national field program, the first national cable media campaign, the first national bus tour. Paid leave was core to President Biden’s economic agenda. For the first time, we passed paid family and medical leave in the House of Representatives—and we came within a single vote of making a permanent paid family and medical leave law. 

That momentum is growing. Already this year, President Biden released the strongest budget proposal for comprehensive paid family and medical leave in history. There are renewed calls and commitments to paid leave across the Administration, the first ever bipartisan working group for paid leave in the House, new congressional caucuses, and new champions. 

And at Paid Leave for All, new groups join every day. We hear from business leaders, elected officials, working families who are demanding action. We’ve formed more partnerships in the last few months than ever before (speaking of which, we hope you will go to today and sign our petition with Glamour Magazine). Passing paid leave in this country will be transformative. It will save workers billions in wages every year. It will help small businesses compete and working families thrive. It will have a profound impact on public health, economic security, and racial and gender equity. It will foster entrepreneurship, creativity, whole new life possibilities. It will save lives. And it will afford us all peace of mind—the ability to be there for the people we love. It is not a matter of if, it is a matter of when, and with the resources, we will keep turning up the volume, and get this over the finish line now. Please join us at—and let’s make history together.