Meghan Markle pushes US Congress for paid family leave

LOS ANGELES : Meghan Markle called Wednesday for the US to provide paid family leave, confessing in an open letter to congressional leaders to feeling "overwhelmed" by the arrival of her daughter.

"I'm not an elected official, and I'm not a politician. I am, like many, an engaged citizen and a parent," Markle wrote in an open letter to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer.

The former actress, who became the Duchess of Sussex upon marrying Britain's Prince Harry, has two children with him - Archie, two, and Lilibet, who is 20 weeks old.

Markle, 40, told the Democratic congressional leaders she was writing "as a mom" to advocate for paid leave as the party's lawmakers debate whether the provision will make it into President Joe Biden's sweeping Build Back Better social spending bill.

In what is being interpreted as her most robust public political statement yet, Markle said paid family leave should be "a national right, rather than a patchwork option limited to those whose employers have policies in place, or those who live in one of the few states where a leave programme exists".

The US is one of the few countries in the world that do not guarantee paid leave, a benefit that the White House says is good for business.- AFP