If you've ever had a medical emergency, you know how difficult it is to get paid time off work. But two lawmakers are trying to fix that problem.
Grant Dotson is a self-employed photographer from Georgia. He says when you work for yourself, often times, that means a lot of stress when it comes to money.
"When you need to take time off to take care of family or for the birth of a new child," he said, "then you kind of have to plan for that on your own."
But two lawmakers are trying to change that. Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro from Connecticut and Senator Kirsten Gillibrand from New York introduced the FAMILY Act, that would create national paid family and medical leave for employees.
"This is the kind of common-sense legislation Congress should be working on," Gillibrand said at a news conference on Thursday. "It's not a Democratic or a Republican idea, it's just a good idea that strengthens our work force and strengthens our economy."
Right now, only about twelve per cent of the work force has the option of taking paid time off for medical reasons. One third of working women don't have access paid maternity leave. That means those workers often have to take unpaid time off to take care of their families. Both DeLauro and Gillibrand said that can mean employees, especially women, can't live up to their full career potential.
The lawmakers say The FAMILY Act would not add to the national deficit. It would be funded by employee and employer contributions. The average employee would pay about two dollars a week into a fund which would offer up to twelve weeks of partial-paid time off to take care of a sick family member or to take care of themselves.
The proposal would make leave available to every individual regardless of the size of their current employer.