PHOENIX — A Hispanic advocacy group is calling for equal treatment for Latinos when it comes to things like paid vacation, sick time and parental leave from their jobs.
Leticia De La Vara, a senior strategist for the National Council of La Raza, told a women’s conference in Phoenix on Monday that because many Hispanics work low-wage jobs with few benefits, they’re afraid to take time off to tend to family matters.
“Since we as Latinos are more likely to be employed in the low wage labor market and work in part time or temporary positions, we rarely have access to benefits such as paid leave, paid vacation, or even guarantees under the Family Medical Leave Act,” De La Vara said.
She said that Hispanics are behind other groups when it comes to time off.
“Forty-seven percent of all Hispanic workers in the U.S. have access to paid sick days,” De La Vara said.
“That’s less than half of all Latino workers, compared to 64 percent of white workers, and 62 percent of black workers.”
De La Vara said that there are no federal standards regarding paid leave. But Congress is considering several bills that could change that.
“Several proposals in Congress would create a national standard for paid sick days, such as the Healthy Families Act,” she said.
Another bill, the Family Act, would provide 12 weeks of paid leave per year for health-related events.
The group is calling on Congress to pass the bills, and increase the minimum wage, including for restaurant workers and others who also earn tips as part of their jobs.