If approved and signed by the President, new legislation in Congress would modernize the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA). The Family Medical Leave Modernization Act would guarantee small necessities leave and make important updates to the definition of family to ensure a broader range of caregiving relationships that exist in the country.
Rep. Carolyn B. Maloney and Sen Dick Durbin
"Our family and medical leave policies need to reflect what American families actually look like in 2021 and expand to match the needs of 21st Century families," said Congresswoman Maloney (D-NY), who introduced the bill in the House.
"No one should have to choose between caring for a loved one and losing their job," said Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL), who introduced the bill in the Senate.
"As family caregiving needs increase, we have to update our laws so they fit the needs of 21st-century families. My bill with Rep. Maloney expands family leave job protections by ensuring all workers have the same rights to fulfill their caregiving responsibilities."
According to a statement released by Rep. Maloney, The Family Medical Leave Modernization Act would:
- Update the FMLA's definition of family to include a domestic partner, parent-in-law, aunt, uncle, sibling, adult child, grandparent, grandchild, son- or daughter-in-law, and other significant relationship.
- Guarantee that parents and other family caregivers can take time off to attend a medical appointment or school function, such as a parent-teacher conference, without risk of losing their job.
Family Caregivers Face More Challenges Than in the Past
Family caregiving needs have changed dramatically in recent years and should increase in the coming years. By the year 2034, those aged 65 and older will outnumber children in the United States for the first time in history.
There will be more pressure on family caregivers, and often there is no advance planning to assist, especially when it comes to long-term health care.
Roughly 53 million family members, partners, or friends provide care to adults in the United States, with 61 percent of family caregivers are also working. In addition to a career, many of these family caregivers have their own family responsibilities to attend to while being a caregiver for a loved one.
Caregivers Often Juggle Needs of Older Parents and Children
Many caregivers provide support to both children and an aging family member. Women comprise roughly 61 percent of caregivers, and approximately 58 percent of those women are also employed.
Women who are also family caregivers face significant challenges, including loss of retirement savings and lower potential lifetime earnings. Women caregivers are also 2.5 times more likely to live in poverty.
For unprepared families, the expanded family leave will provide important benefits for those family caregivers.
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The cost of long-term health care makes care hard to obtain for some people or adversely impacts a family's income and assets. The LTC NEWS Cost of Care Calculator shows both the current and future cost of extended health care in all settings.
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The ideal time to plan is when you are in your 40s or 50s, when you still enjoy relatively good health and premiums are lower.
Yes, long-term care costs drain assets and change lifestyles. Yes, long-term care is a cash flow issue. It is a significant cash flow problem. However, long-term care is also a family problem. Affordable Long-Term Care Insurance addresses both family and finances.
Preparing your family and finances for changing health in the future will safeguard assets and reduce the stress and anxiety otherwise placed on your loved ones.
LTC NEWS Offers Resources to Help You Plan
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