Working Families

Strengthening Working Families

In order for our communities to prosper, working families need jobs that provide a decent wage and support a balance between the demands of work and home. 

The minimum wage is one of the most fundamental federal workplace protections. No one who works for a living should have to live in poverty. The declining value of the minimum wage means that low-income workers have been forced to work increasingly longer hours to make ends meet and have less time to spend with their families. That is why in 2007, Senator Murray helped pass the first increase to the federal minimum wage in over a decade.

For some, wage discrimination remains a problem in the American workplace, and Senator Murray has worked to restore fairness by:

  • Cosponsoring the Fair Pay Act since 1996, which prohibits wage discrimination on the basis of sex, race or national origin 
  • Cosponsoring the Employment Non-Discrimination Act, which prohibits workplace discrimination based on sexual orientation
  • Working to pass the Lily Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, legislation that reversed the Supreme Court’s decision in Ledbetter v. Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co—a decision that seriously undermined worker protections against pay discrimination. This legislation was signed into law in January 2009
  • Supporting Washington state’s own paid family leave program that passed the Washington State Legislature in 2007

In 1993, Senator Murray led the fight for the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA), which ensures most workers are able to take time off from work to attend to family and personal medical needs without the fear of losing their jobs. 

Since then, Senator Murray has fought to strengthen the FMLA by:

  • Cosponsoring legislation to allow employees to use FMLA leave to care for a domestic partner or same-sex spouse
  • Introducing legislation to allow victims of domestic violence to use FMLA leave for non-medical reasons, such as court appearances
  • Supporting legislation to extend FMLA to military spouses and dependents
  • Sponsoring the Airline Flight Crews Technical Corrects Act, a bill that clarifies the original intent of the FMLA in regards to hours of qualification for flight attendants and pilots, which passed into law in 2009
  • Supporting extended FMLA usage for parents to attend activities for children
  • Opposing proposed Department of Labor regulations to further limit the benefits of FMLA for employees

While unpaid job protected leave is vital, it does not go far enough for working families in today's economy.  That is why Senator Murray is committed to working toward guaranteed paid leave for workers, which she has supported by:

  • Cosponsoring the Family Leave Insurance Act, legislation to provide 8 weeks of paid leave for reasons allowed under FMLA
  • Cosponsoring the Healthy Families Act, a bill to require employers with 15 or more employees to provide a minimum of 7 paid days of sick leave

Senator Murray will continue to reject any effort restricting job-protected leave and she will continue to work in Congress to ensure all of our nation's working families are able to better balance their work and family responsibilities.

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