By Congresswoman Frederica Wilson

“Today marks the 23rd anniversary of the Family and Medical Leave Act. In a survey conducted in 2000, nearly 24 million workers took leave to manage work and family or personal medical issues, but just 15 million were covered and eligible under FMLA and could afford to take leave. According to recent statistics, since its enactment, the law has been used more than 200 million times and ensured that those workers did not have to choose between remaining employed and caring for a family member or themselves. That’s good news.

“Unfortunately, just 13 percent of U.S. workers have access to paid family leave. As a co-sponsor of the Family and Medical Insurance Leave Act, I urge my colleagues to support this legislation, which will expand the number of employers providing paid sick and maternity leave and job security. It also will help protect workers against life’s uncertainties, like suddenly having to care for an aging parent while raising a family of one’s own. Hardworking Americans should not have to choose between a paycheck and being there for their families.

Congresswoman Frederica S. Wilson is a third-term Congresswoman from Florida representing parts of Northern Miami-Dade and Southeast Broward counties. A former state legislator and school principal, she is the founder of the 5000 Role Models for Excellence Project, a mentoring program for young males at risk of dropping out of school. Congresswoman Wilson also founded the Florida Ports Caucus, a bipartisan taskforce that coordinates federal action in support of Florida’s harbors and waterways.