There has been a lot of talks lately about paid family leave. While the fate of a comprehensive paid leave plan coming through Biden’s Build Back Better Plan is still up in the air, advocates — including royal ones — have been sounding their support and putting pressure on lawmakers to ensure that the United States finally gives Americans an essential right that is long overdue.
One of those royals, Meghan Markle has been a strong supporter of paid family leave. She’s been lending her voice, time, and influence to advocate for the support. And now, she is clearing up some misconceptions about who paid family leave would benefit.
The Duchess of Sussex has been a vocal supporter of paid family leave and the need for a policy in place in the United States. She’s not afraid to put in the work, whether that means getting on the phone and calling members of Congress or addressing rooms full of people.
On November 9, Meghan spoke to Andrew Ross Sorkin at the DealBook Online Summit about her continued outreach, and she hit at some misconceptions about the need for paid family leave.
“This is one of those issues that is not red or blue,” she said. “It sets us up for economic growth and success, but it also allows people to have that very sacred time as a family.”
Meghan added, “it takes strong men, modern men, to really understand they benefit from it as well,” adding that paid family leave “is not just about the mom.” This is deeply important to note, as paid leave cannot just be given to people who give birth — it’s a whole-of-family benefit and men need to be encouraged to take it as well to increase gender equity in the household and in the workplace.
Her support comes when Democrats have been going back and forth on whether or not to include paid family leave as part of the policy bill. The Biden administration initially pushed to have at least 12 weeks of paid family leave for people welcoming a baby or caring for an ailing family member. It would have been a ground-breaking, if overdue policy, and the first of its kind in the United States. Currently, the United States is the only rich country without a federal paid family leave policy. Some states — like Colorado and California — have stepped in to offer statewide versions of the policy, but many workers don’t have access to paid leave just based on where they live.
Biden confirmed that the proposed family leave plan had been whittled down to just four weeks at the end of October, and then it was shut out of the plan entirely, before being put back in by House Democrats.
Meghan has previously shared her support for a paid family leave bill.
“Paid leave should be a national right, rather than a patchwork option limited to those whose employers have policies in place, or those who live in one of the few states where a leave program exists,” Meghan Markle said at the time. “This is about putting families above politics.”