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Education and Employment

CAP data demonstrate the importance of paid leave for persons with disabilities

Girl with down syndrome and her mother looking at each other face to face they playing at home

A new Center for American Progress (CAP) analysis of the 2018 Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) employee survey explains how people with disabilities need access to paid family and medical leave and why it should be considered a disability rights issue.

CAP conducted a new analysis of the survey, which looked at respondents who took medical leave in the past 12 months for an “ongoing health condition that affects one’s ability to work from time to time, such as diabetes, migraines, depression, or multiple sclerosis” as a proxy for disability status.

“The emergency paid leave laws passed by Congress in response to the coronavirus pandemic were an important first step toward a national paid leave program, but they were not fully inclusive toward the 61 million Americans who have a disability,” said Rebecca Cokley, director of the Disability Justice Initiative at the Center for American Progress.

“The number of Americans living with a disability is expected to grow dramatically in the coming years due to the not-yet-fully-understood long-term effects of COVID-19, so it’s imperative that Congress pass a permanent, national paid family and medical leave policy that would allow disabled people economic stability while they care for themselves or their loved ones.”

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