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Warning bells are ringing

September 28, 2010
I recently got an email from a blog reader who said she had been obsessively reading and re-reading my first post , and all the comments that followed it. After years of managing what sounds like a challenging career and raising young children, she said she feared she was on the verge of a nervous breakdown. She wanted to know if I could see my own breakdown coming, and if so, what were the “warning bells”? There were warning bells. I’ll tell you all about them, and perhaps more importantly, what I tried to do about them. They started almost as soon as I took a full-time job, when my daughter...
Katrina Alcorn's picture

Work-Family Policies Must Include Grandparents

September 12, 2010
Grandparents are the glue that holds many families together—yet our workplace laws don’t honor their critical role. Grandparents play a more vital role than ever in building strong families and caring for our nation’s children. In addition to providing emotional and financial support, millions of grandparents act as primary caregivers for their grandchildren — a number that has increased since the start of the recession. And millions of younger workers care for aging or ill grandparents. Grandparents and grandchildren need workplace policies that help them meet their work and family...

Straight Talk about Motherhood and Work

August 23, 2010
Recently I was asked a terrific question by an Australian (and soon to be an American) woman at a training for women bloggers thinking about running for office. BlogHer and the White House Project had put together a great program. I talked about my experience in international work as an Ambassador which gave me a window into how mothers fared in other countries. My questioner said she had lived in a number of countries which raised a big question in her mind. “Why,” she asked, “do American women – compared with those in many other countries – put up with such Draconian policies that make it...
Linda Tarr-Whelan's picture

Massachusetts Maternity Leave Ruling Leaves Moms Cold

August 19, 2010
According to Salon's Broadsheet , the Massachusetts Supreme Court ruled last week that the state's maternity leave act (MMLA) should stand, leaving mothers who work for a company with less than fifty employees with only two months of unpaid leave after the birth of a baby. The other moms? They're either left with a sum total of zero available weeks of maternity leave if they work for an employer with less than six employees or, if they're lucky and work at an organization with fifty or more employees, are entitled to 12 weeks of unpaid leave, and a job to which to return under federal law...

What Should Society Do For Parents?

August 10, 2010
From Your (Wo)manInWashington blog MOTHERS changing the conversation @ www.MothersOughtToHaveEqualRights.org Let's face facts: raising children costs money, and lots of it. Parenthood has economic consequences, and they extend far beyond the family home. If women decide having children is too perilous an undertaking, and fewer children are born, our nation will suffer. Public policy, or how the laws of the land hinder or help parents and families fulfill their function, impact us in very direct and personal ways. This recent Washington Post column is sure to get you thinking about how...
Valerie Young's picture

Sorry I Missed Your Anniversary! Thanks for Keeping Families Afloat.

August 4, 2010
This July marked the sixth anniversary of the nation's first state law that provides comprehensive paid family leave. Passed in 2002 and in effect since July 2004, California's paid family leave insurance program provides most workers with six weeks a year of partial pay (55% of wages up to a weekly max -- $987 per week in 2010) during unpaid time off from work to care for a newborn, new adopted or foster child, or seriously ill parent, child, spouse, or domestic partner. Is family leave just a frill? Hardly. In a recession, having it makes a significant economic difference for families --...
Joan C. Williams's picture

Screw Work Life Balance: We Need Work Life Policy! Join the Movement at BlogHer

August 2, 2010
For over two years, The Four Hour Work Week has been a national bestseller. Why? Because most of us resent feeling tethered to our jobs, and we know we could still do great work even if we had the ability to control our schedules and factor family needs into our day. But workers are completely on their own to figure it out. Out of 168 nations , 163 have some form of paid maternity leave, leaving the United States in the company of Lesotho, Papua New Guinea and Swaziland. Nice. We are grown ups who have home and work demands; what's wrong here? At the BlogHer Conference in NYC on August 7 at 1...

The White House Talks, Is Congress Listening?

July 28, 2010
This year the White House, in cooperation with the Council on Women and Girls, hosted a conference on Workplace Flexibility. The conference came on the heels of a report by the Council of Economic Advisors on the benefits to employers of offering paid leave and flextime, official guidance on caregiving discrimination by the EEOC, and – perhaps most importantly – a $50 million line item in the FY2011 Department of Labor budget to create a State Paid Leave Fund to provide grants to states to establish paid leave programs. Advocates celebrated. And then we waited for Congress to act. We’re still...

Paid Leave Makes Horse Sense

July 28, 2010
Vacations are good for your health . And, you don’t need to get away to any fancy Caribbean retreat to get the benefit of time-off from work. But it helps if you are a horse. In New York City, that is. The City’s Health Department has proposed new rules for those horses hitched to carriages that carry tourists around parts of town. If implemented, the horses would get 5 weeks of job-protected vacation . During their time off, the horses would continue to enjoy their standard payment – room and board, along with grooming. It is a reasonable business decision to invest in these workers since...
Jodie Levin-Epstein's picture

Work-life balance: Finding the Swede spot

July 27, 2010
A quiet revolution has been taking place in Sweden for 15 years, affecting everything from the gender pay gap to workplace culture to relationships between parents and children. It all started at home. Here’s a link to the fascinating New York Times story about this phenomenon. Now here’s my distilled version—with original illustrations! This Swedish family* doesn’t look very happy. That’s because for decades Sweden has had the same problems we have in the U.S., with men and women seemingly confined to traditional roles when it came to working and raising kids. Although the country had paid...
Katrina Alcorn's picture

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