Building an Economy that Works for Everyone

Evelin Bargas: In support of Family and Medical Leave Insurance

My name is Evelin Bargas. I live and work in Bellevue. I took a vacation day from work to come here with my husband and son and testify in support of family and medical leave insurance.

My dad has been sick since October. My sister and I kept urging him to go to the doctor, but he didn’t want to miss work and pay a lot of doctor’s bills. It finally got so bad that we took him to the emergency room.

The doctor said he had urine backing up into his kidneys, and if he didn’t have the problem taken care of, he would end up on dialysis.

He needs surgery, but he would need to be off work for 6 weeks to recover, and doesn’t have that much sick leave and vacation saved up. He’s worried about how he’ll pay his bills and the extra medical costs, and he’s afraid if he misses too much work, he’ll lose his job.

My dad works for a company that handles short term rentals. He moves furniture and does laundry and housekeeping, which involves a lot of lifting. He has to use a catheter. They tried a permanent one, but he couldn’t work with that in place, so now he’s supposed to catheterize himself 4 times a day, but he can’t take long enough breaks during his work.

We have to keep taking him in to the doctor because he’s sick all the time, which eats up his sick leave, so he can’t save it up for his surgery.

It would be so much better if he could just take the time off to have the surgery, without having to worry about how he will pay his bills. We wouldn’t have to keep taking him to the doctor, and he’d be back to full strength at work.

My sister and I are really worried about our dad’s health. My sister is also very stressed about how she’ll pay her bills when my dad does have surgery and needs us to take care of him.

My uncles work in California where they have disability and family leave insurance. When my grandmother was passing away, they were able to go and be with her for a few weeks without stressing about how they would pay their bills, because they had that insurance program. But my dad wasn’t able to go while she was still alive.

We need family and medical leave insurance here in Washington. Please pass Senate Bill 5292. Thank you.

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