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Calling All Humans: Who Pays for us to Propagate?

March 1, 2010
Women now comprise about half the US workforce, according to a major story in the December 30 issue of the Economist . In other words, half our workforce bears all our children. Anyone who wants a child of one's own must recognize that somewhere, a woman will bear that child and will likely nurse him. However, lack of paid maternity leave places half our workforce at risk for economic insecurity or even frank poverty, just because they happen to have two X-chromosomes. So, attention all employers, coworkers, and legislators: If you want to have a sustainable workforce, at some point, you will...
Melissa Bartick's picture

FMLA: After 17 Years, It’s Time to Take the Next Step

February 24, 2010
The Family and Medical Leave Act turns 17 today. At the National Partnership, we are like proud parents. We remember the long fight to pass it, and the moment on February 5, 1993 when we stood beside President Clinton as he made it the very first bill he signed. For the first time, we had a national law to address the challenges facing workers who struggle to meet their job and family commitments. The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) was a huge step. It meant that millions of workers could take unpaid, but job-protected, leave to recover from illness or care for a sick family member or...

When will we dictate policy to protect our future generations?

February 18, 2010
Why are other countries recognizing the need for a paid stay-at home option, yet we are not? When will we dictate policy to protect our future generations? Our country's leaders seem to be primarily concerned with the here and now, instead of maintaining a balance that satisfies the present and the future. When will we, parents, amass and demand better options for balancing work and parenthood? How long will we wallow in a discontent disillusionment that our leaders won't listen or aren't concerned? Aren't we the ones who determine who our leaders will be? Aren't "we the people" destined to...

Time to Stop Free-Riding on Families

February 10, 2010
For generations, our country has been free-riding on families. Our economy is built on the invisible and free labor of millions--many of them women--who provide essential care to their families, whether it is the education and socialization of the next generation of workers or the comfort and care of the elderly. We have taken for granted that women will shoulder the lion's share of unpaid care work, even as they dedicate increasingly more hours to paid work. Although 70% of children are growing up in families headed by either a single working parent or two working parents, our workplace...
Phoebe Taubman's picture

Compensation for Parents

February 7, 2010
Most parents are overwhelmed when first entering into parenthood. This can cause emotional frustration and financial worry. To relieve this emotional burden, all parents should receive paid maternity and paternity leave for the first two years of their children’s lives. By providing this supplementation to a family’s income, a government acknowledges, and honors, the important role of parenting in the lives of its citizenry. Parents who have the option to stay home, with pay, for the first two years of a child’s life, will be less worried about how to balance work and family. Relieved of...

Paid leave is a human right

January 25, 2010
Paid parental leave is a human right, one guaranteed by virtually every country. But not the United States! When you gave birth or adopted your kids, did you take leave without pay? How did this affect breastfeeding, your health, your baby’s health, or your family’s finances? How did this affect the timing of your return to work? How else did the lack of paid parental leave affect you and your family? Human Rights Watch, a nongovernmental human rights group, is hoping to interview parents about their experience with unpaid maternity and paternity leave, and the impact on their families. The...
Janet Walsh's picture

Wake Up! This Is the Reality of Work/Life for American Families

January 21, 2010
We work long hours. We work multiple jobs. We can barely afford healthcare, or we’re doing without. We’re stitching together childcare, or we’re sending our kids to school with H1N1. We exert ourselves to be good spouses, sons and daughters, parents, members of our community, friends - in snatched moments from being good but insecure employees. And while we may talk amongst ourselves about hard it is to manage it all, perhaps we feel that this is just life and try to muddle through as best we can, on our own… …leaving the professional media to define the outlines of America’s work/life story...
Gloria Pan's picture

Start the New Year with the Power of One

January 13, 2010
You can make a difference in 2010 to open up opportunities for our children – and ourselves – to move as far as our talents and passions take us. Often, unnecessary obstacles seem to stand in the way, like old-fashioned and outdated styles in the workplace, make our lives more about juggling than balancing. Keeping all the balls in the air forces us to make hard choices between what is good for the family and what is good for a career. It can leave us feeling like change is impossible. I’m convinced it doesn’t have to be this way. The impossible to imagine – a country where we actually value...
Linda Tarr-Whelan's picture

Paid Leave for the US

December 18, 2009
From Your (Wo)manInWashington blog MOTHERS changing the conversation @ www.MothersOughtToHaveEqualRights.org I've written here before about Jody Heymann's work in Raising the Global Floor: Dismantling the Myth that We Can't Afford Good Working Conditions for Everyone . The only reason we don't have paid leave in this country as a basic minimum standard is because we have not yet insisted upon it. Here is Jody making the case as it appeared in a blog she wrote for the Washington Post . For author Jody Heymann's radio interview about paid leave and good workplace policy, click here . Listen to...
Valerie Young's picture

The Promise of New Deal Feminism

December 14, 2009
A single mom needs work; she’s literally thinking about applying for welfare. As she writes on her blog , “I had been looking for a better job, but there were none to be had in the low-income/high-unemployment area where I lived. And I couldn’t get a full-time job anyway — I was still on the waiting list for a spot in daycare.” She starts working freelance, from home. This suits her schedule as a mom. But “I was treated like crap , too. Bossed around, degraded, condescended to, with jibes made about my having to work from home. I quickly learned not to mention I had kids. I quickly learned...

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