2021 General Assembly Session Begins

The 2021 Virginia General Assembly Session began on Wednesday, January 13th. This year’s “short session” is scheduled to last only 30 days, but recent reports suggest that Governor Northam may extend the session to 45 days. Due to the on-going Covid-19 pandemic, much of the work during the session will be done virtually. Given these unusual circumstances, VBCF has decided not to host a formal state breast cancer advocacy day for 2021. 

Even though we cannot advocate in-person this year, VBCF will share information about virtual advocacy opportunities as they arise – emails and calls to legislators, social media activity, and/or targeted meetings with legislators via Zoom. Updates about VBCF’s activities during the General Assembly can be found on our Advocacy page where you can also sign up to receive our advocacy action alerts.

VBCF is monitoring the following legislative issues this session:

Paid Family and Medical Leave

VBCF recently joined the Campaign for a Family Friendly Virginia to help advocate for paid family and medical leave in Virginia. Too many Virginians struggle with financial stability when receiving treatment for cancer or other serious illnesses. Currently, 55% of Virginia workers are not eligible or cannot afford to take even unpaid leave. Access to only unpaid leave still leaves many with impossible choices during a time when they are at their most vulnerable. 

Legislation will be introduced this session by Delegate Ayala (HB 2016) and Senator Boysko (SB 1330) that would establish a paid family and medical leave insurance program in the Commonwealth, ensuring covered employees can take at least 12 weeks of paid time away from work when they need it to take care of themselves or a loved one with a serious illness or when welcoming a new child. Click here for More information about Paid Family and Medical Leave

VBCF is interested in gathering personal stories to share with legislators as we advocate on this issue. Did you have paid leave from work when you were going through breast cancer treatment? Would you be willing to share why it was so important for you? Or, did you struggle with balancing unpaid leave from work with your cancer treatment? Please contact Kirsta Millar (kirsta@vbcf.org), if you are willing to share your experiences.

Paid Sick Leave

VBCF believes workers should not have to choose between getting paid or taking the time off to get needed medical care, including treatment for breast cancer. Yet, approximately 1.2 million workers in Virginia have no paid sick days or any paid time off. VBCF recently joined the Virginians for Paid Sick Days Coalition

A paid sick leave bill (HB 2137) is being introduced by Delegate Guzman for the 2021 session which would cover full-time, essential workers only. The bill would create a sick-leave standard of up to 5 days paid time off for this group of workers only. VBCF is supportive of this bill, and although we are disappointed that it is not more comprehensive, it’s a good first step. Click here for a summary of the January 5, 2021 press conference about paid sick leave.

Sign up for VBCF’s Action Alerts to keep abreast of the latest developments during General Assembly 2021. Questions, contact Kirsta Millar, Policy and Fund Development, kirsta@vbcf.org.


2 Responses

  1. Carmen Marshall says:

    17 year survivor living in VA after moving here from NJ. How can I get plugged in, volunteer, help with Advocacy, education and virtual events?

    • Kirsta Millar says:

      Hello Carmen. Thank you for reaching out! Glad to have you here in Virginia and we would love to get you connected with our work. Please sign-up to receive our E-news and Advocacy Action Alerts to stay up-to-date with our activities and for opportunities to participate in our education and advocacy work. I will also email you separately to connect and answer any questions you may have. Kirsta Millar, VBCF Policy Manager, kirsta@vbcf.org

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