Work and Family

Being there when family needs you—or when you need you—isn’t negotiable. No boss should be able to deny paid time to get over an illness or care for a loved one.

PAID FAMILY LEAVE

Barely more than 10% of Americans have any paid family leave, meaning we’re forced to make impossible decisions on a daily basis. People get sick. Babies are born or adopted. Life happens, and our workplace policies need to catch up.

  • Nearly three-quarters of people say that an illness or a new child, for themselves or a family member, would cause them financial problems.
  • The current protections in the Family and Medical Leave Act barely made sense in the 50s — and don’t work at all today. 40% of the workforce isn’t covered, and most only get unpaid leave. And let’s be honest—how many of us can afford that?

Unless we’re willing to morph from humans into robots, something has to change. We know that a choice between being there for family and putting food on the table is no choice at all. We’re ready to update the rules about work and wages.

 

EARNED SICK DAYS

Getting sick is awful. Even worse? Having to go to work sick. You shouldn’t have to worry about losing a day’s pay (or even your job) for taking time off for an illness.

  • Nearly two in five private sector workers are denied a single paid sick day for things like the stomach flu, strep throat or a broken leg.
  • One in seven low wage workers were fired in the past four years because they or their family member had the nerve to get sick.
  • Everyday illnesses can become dangerous and expensive health nightmares. People working without paid sick days forgo the doctor and end up in an E.R. — or are more likely to go to work sick, or to send a sick child to school.

No one can make it work if getting sick means losing a paycheck. So until we find a way to make all sickness illegal forever, we should all be able to earn up to seven paid sick days each year.

 

DECENCY FOR PREGNANT MOMS

The laws against pregnancy discrimination work about as well as control-top pantyhose in your third trimester.

Too many moms-to-be deal with demands that could hurt them or their babies:

  • Unless we’re switching over to laying eggs, three-quarters of women will be pregnant and employed at some point.
  • Pregnant women who need modest accommodations are often pushed out of their jobs, or treated poorly at work.
  • A bad work environment can actually hurt the baby — stress can increase the risk of having a baby born too soon or underweight.

If politicians want to talk family values, it’s time they start valuing families. They can start by treating moms-to-be like we should treat anyone else in the workplace.

I'm the sole provider for my kids and have to work all the time to make ends meet, so I don't get a lot of time with them, even holidays or birthdays. Ellissa, Missouri