Payed leave's end is hard on Manchin's state backers

Jessi Garman is the mother to twins aged 3 and 4. She has been trying to find a job, as well as trying for a third child. Her husband is in the military. She was optimistic that Congress would finally approve paid family medical leaves.

Payed leave's end is hard on Manchin's state backers

However, that was before Democratic Senator Joe Manchin of West Virginia opposed the proposal. Garman's despair has become anger, as neither having another child nor getting full-time employment seem possible.

Garman, of Milton, said that "it almost feels personal because Joe Manchin my senator"

The decades-old plan to allow workers to take time off for medical care, including childbirth and surgeries, is now being rebuffed by supporters in West Virginia, Manchin's home state. West Virginia has one of the oldest states in the country.

State activists are still working with Manchin -- a proleave group planned rent an airplane and fly banners over one of his fundraisers at a resort. Kayla Young, a member of state House of Delegates, also helps with Paid Leave Works for West Virginia. They hope that President Joe Biden will include some form of paid leave in his social spending package.

Young stated, "It's depressing, but it's not over yet."

Sarah Clemente believes Young is correct, as paid leave would have made it easier for her three children. She said that she was forced to take two years off work and then return to work a week after giving birth to Penelope, her youngest child, who she adopted from Ryan's family.

We followed the guidelines of what it is to be responsible and successful adults. Clemente, a 40 year-old health care manager, said that while we were there now, there was much suffering and heartbreak. It's still difficult.

Biden originally proposed 12 weeks paid leave for parents, caregivers, and people who are sick. However, it was not included in the $1.7 trillion framework that the White House released on Thursday. This was after Manchin's opposition became apparent. Manchin, whose support has been crucial due to the small Democratic edge in Senate, stated that he did not want the United States to become "an entitlement society".

The senator is still being lobbied by Democrats, but he hasn’t changed his mind despite several proposals to reduce leave from 12 to 4 weeks or limit it to new parents. New York Senator Kirsten Gillibrand said that she spoke extensively with Manchin. He asked great questions but wasn't focused on the details of the proposal or had concerns about its costs.

Amber Gabor, Manchin's county in northern West Virginia allowed her to take some time off when one of her children -- aged 2, 7, and 9 -- had to be home for two weeks due to a coronavirus infection at school. She thought 12 weeks of paid time off was excessive.

"I don’t see why you would need that much at once, except if it were a maternity leave. Gabor said that most places (work) offer this anyway." Gabor works remotely as a customer service representative for a power company.

Samantha Camp, a Spencer dentist, is one of many who says they will continue to make it without paid leave.

Camp will continue to pay $50 per month for disability insurance that she purchases as an insurance policy to protect herself from having to miss work due the bone problem that led her hip replacement last year. She felt that she was forced to return to work earlier than the doctors had recommended.

Camp, 34, said that it was extremely worrying to be without any income. "The doctors wanted me to wait for six weeks. I knew that I could not afford it financially. In reality, I was off for only two and a quarter weeks."

Chris Hedges, a partner at the law firm, stated that it provided Camp with all the vacation time it could and that having government-funded leaves would have made it even better.

Hedges stated that it was almost impossible for small businesses to afford paid leave. "The paid leave that would've been available through Biden’s bill would have been a big help. It would have helped us retain our employees."

Brittanie Hairston, Charleston's westside, said that paid leave would have helped ease her concerns about what would happen to her sons (6 and 10 years old) if they were to become sick with COVID-19.

She said, "I can't return to work until they are clear."

Mildred Tompkins works for a non-profit in the capital that promotes health and education. She said her two daughters, Mildred and Mildred, are both in their 20s, and work in low-paying health care jobs.

She said that it would make a big difference for people who are "just regular", right at the poverty line, and still working.

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