by: Lee Savio Beers, MD, FAAP, President, American Academy of Pediatrics
"The American Academy of Pediatrics applauds the policy unveiled today that will provide children, families and caregivers across the country with the comprehensive support, security and stability they need through 12 weeks of paid leave for parental, medical, and caregiving reasons. Now is the moment to advance this policy into law.
"Pediatricians have long understood the countless health benefits of meaningful paid family and medical leave, and the COVID-19 pandemic has only underscored the urgency for Congress to act. We hear from our patients' families who are forced to choose between earning a paycheck or being there to care for their child – whether it be a new mom returning from the hospital with her baby or parents of children with complex and all-consuming health care needs. No parent should be put in this position. The pandemic has further exacerbated the stress, financial strain and uncertainty that so many families face on a daily basis.
"Paid leave allows parents to bond with their baby during the critical first weeks of life, helping to establish healthy relationships, and it also increases the likelihood that parents will fully vaccinate their babies. For parents of children with special health care needs, paid leave affords them the job security required to give their full attention to their child's health and development. Paid leave helps keep families out of poverty and able to put food on the table. Universal and comprehensive paid leave like that in the Build Back Better Act would address inequities faced by communities of color and families with lower income who are less likely to have access to it.
"The Academy commends U.S. Ways and Means Committee Chairman Richard Neal (D-Mass.) for his leadership and for making paid leave a top priority. When the committee considers these proposals later this week, we urge them to advance this strong policy and others like making the child tax credit permanent that are essential to putting the health of children and families first. We can't let them down."
The American Academy of Pediatrics is an organization of 67,000 primary care pediatricians, pediatric medical subspecialists and pediatric surgical specialists dedicated to the health, safety and well-being of infants, children, adolescents and young adults. For more information, visit www.aap.org and follow us on Twitter @AmerAcadPeds.