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Paid Leave Helps Women Keep Working, AARP Tells Lawmakers

The House Ways and Means Committee held a hearing last week on employee burnout and the resources women need to remain in the workforce. We sent a follow-up letter on Monday to thank lawmakers for considering this critical issue — and to highlight how important access to paid family and caregiving leave is for women who want to remain in the workforce.

Women accounted for nearly half (47 percent) of U.S. workers last year but are disproportionately responsible for caregiving duties. Although 1 in 5 Americans are caregivers for an adult or child with special needs, 3 in 5 are women, according to an AARP Public Policy Institute report.

“Many of these working women are taking care of children, older parents, spouses or other loved ones while also juggling full- or part-time jobs,” Bill Sweeney, AARP’s senior vice president for government affairs, wrote in the letter. “Paid leave for working caregivers is critical to older working women, because no one should have to choose between keeping their job and caring for a loved one in need.”

Sweeney also noted the financial implications of leaving the workforce early to care for a loved one, including the impacts on a caregiver’s Social Security benefits, lifetime earnings and retirement savings. And should a caregiver choose to re-enter the workforce down the line, they often face additional hurdles due to the gaps in their résumés.

We’ve been pushing federal and state lawmakers to advance paid family and caregiving leave bills to give women and all caregivers more options for remaining in the workforce. Maryland and Delaware are among several states that have considered paid family leave legislation in recent months, and AARP was active in getting those bills over the finish line.

Read our letter to lawmakers, and learn about how we’re fighting for all family caregivers.

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