Washington, D.C. — As the House-passed popular, and fully paid-for Build Back Better Act heads to the U.S. Senate, government watchdog Accountable.US released two new reports highlighting what’s at stake for West Virginian families — especially women, low-income workers, people of color, and seniors — who would greatly benefit from the plan’s paid family leave and senior care provisions.
“Senator Manchin may never get this opportunity again to deliver a real chance at a better life and better care for thousands in West Virginia. It makes no sense to squander this moment to vastly expand access to paid leave and improve child and senior care in West Virginia because of unrelated complaints from a handful of wealthy special interests,” said Kyle Herrig, president of Accountable.US. “Rich corporations and billionaires don’t need any more special treatment, but West Virginians could benefit tremendously from a more level playing field – and Senator Manchin holds the key.”
Last month, Accountable.US released an analysis finding that Senator Manchin has taken over $1.5 million from anti-Build Back Better agenda corporate interests as of September 2021.
KEY FINDINGS FROM THE TWO REPORTS:
- 61% Of West Virginian Workers Couldn’t Access Even Unpaid Leave Under The Family And Medical Leave Act (FMLA) And Many Eligible Workers Can’t Afford To Miss Paychecks.
- West Virginia Had A Nine-Percentage Point Gender Gap In Labor Force Participation In 2020, Due Partly To Lack Of Family-Friendly Policies—And Nearly Three Times As Many Women In The State Were Unemployed At The End Of 2020, Due To The Pandemic, Than A Year Prior.
- Nearly 186,000 West Virginians Work In Frontline Industries, Facing Higher Risk Of COVID-19 Exposure And More Challenges In Family Caregiving.
- West Virginia Has “One Of The Nation’s Oldest Populations,” And Nearly A Quarter Of Its Workers Are 55 Or Older And At Higher Risk Of Serious Medical Conditions That May Require Care Or Time Off Work.
- Low-Income And Minority West Virginians Were Less Likely To Have Paid Time Off—Meanwhile, The State Had The 6th Highest Poverty Rate In The Country, With 16% Living In Poverty, And Low-Income And Minority Citizens Feeling Hardship Of COVID-19 “More Acutely.”
- The CEO of the West Virginia Health Care Association, a long-term care group, warned of a, “‘perfect storm'” of staffing challenges, “most pronounced” in direct care providers like registered nurses and licensed practical nurses.
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