Honor Grandparents With Paid Leave for All

Family Values @ Work
2 min readSep 13, 2020

As we approach Grandparents’ Day, I’m thinking more about how COVID has changed life as we know it. Like so many kids, ours are really missing their grandparents. And our parents are missing them. We haven’t seen my wife’s family since March, as my mother-in-law is caring for Nana who’s 92. Both are part of the “vulnerable” demographic of older Americans and we can’t risk exposure. Over Zoom, I hear her say to our youngest, “I know you haven’t seen me in a while, but I’m one of your grandmothers, you know.” He knows, but this imposed distance is hard.

So what does Grandparents Day mean this year, since we can’t get together the way we used to? What can we give to grandparents who we have to love from a distance?

I see some in power willing to sacrifice grandparents — more concerned about rushing to reopen the economy and schools than with keeping us safe and laying the basis for widespread family and economic prosperity.

So while we’re desperate to hop in the car and head over for a weekend visit, that’s not what they need most right now. What they need is protection from selfish and self-centered politicians who are willing to sacrifice grandparents for their own personal gain. They need for themselves and those around them to stay safe or heal if they have COVID-19, so they won’t spread the virus to other older adults and anyone at risk (meaning those who are immuno-compromised, but also kids and college students and middle-aged people, all of us).

That means access to paid sick days and paid family and medical leave for all.

We need the Senate to stop dilly-dallying and pass the Heroes Act to expand emergency paid leave to include time for those with the virus or caring for a loved one who has it — right now it covers only parents caring for kids whose school or child care is closed as a result of the pandemic. The Heroes Act would also close loopholes in Families First Coronavirus Response Act that left out up to 106 million workers.

Then we need to make sure our elected officials lay the basis for permanent policies for time to care. Even if they don’t get COVID-19, many grandparents are still dealing with cancer or strokes or other ailments and need care from loved ones without any risk to their pay or jobs.

Then we can get back to those bear hugs from grandma and tickles from grandpa, now and for the future.

By Wendy Chun-Hoon, director of Family Values @ Work

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Family Values @ Work

27 state coalitions working to win for Paid Sick Days, Paid Leave and other policies that value families at work in your city, county and state, then nation.