Close to 200 companies have signed a letter asking Congress to create permanent paid family and medical leave as part of the Biden administration’s economic recovery package.
Among those attaching their names to the effort are Rent the Runway, Etsy, Salesforce, Pinterest, Spotify, Eventbrite, Levi Strauss & Co., Danone, and Patagonia.
Celebrity-business signatories include Goop (Gwyneth Paltrow), Haus Labs (Lady Gaga), Bad Robot Productions (J.J. Abrams), Hello Bello (Kirsten Bell and Dax Shepard), and Once Upon a Farm (Jennifer Garner).
“At the onset of the pandemic, fewer than 21 percent of workers had access to paid leave through their employers,” the letter reads. “Lack of a national paid leave policy makes all of us more vulnerable during this pandemic and for future public health emergencies, while putting the financial stability of businesses on the line. We cannot emerge from this pandemic and remain one of only two countries in the world with no form of national paid leave.”
The businesses that have affixed their name to the open letter to Congress are worth a combined $562-plus billion, according to organizer Paid Leave for the United States, also known as PL+US.
The letter also cites PL+US research that finds that “more than 75 percent of businesses agree that a national paid leave policy would help them be better positioned to weather future public health emergencies and economic crises.” And it would be a “key element” to tackle racial, class, and gender inequalities.
The document—addressed to Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-California), Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer (D-New York), Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Kentucky), and House Minority Leader Ken McCarthy (R-California)—doesn’t outline a plan for how the administration should set up permanent paid family and medical leave.
“National action is key to stemming the tide of women leaving the workforce in the wake of the coronavirus crisis,” Rent the Runway CEO Jenn Hyman said in a written statement. “As many businesses continue to struggle one year into the pandemic, leaders must also recognize that these actions are simply good for the bottom line, increasing employee loyalty and satisfaction, decreasing hiring and training costs, and more.”
Rent the Runway already offers paid leave.