Pregnancy & Family Leave Issues
Paid Family Leave: Strong Families, Strong NY
Sign the NYS Petition
AAUW's Quick Facts on Paid Family Leave and Paid Sick Days
AAUW's Know Your Rights: The Pregnancy Discrimination Act (PDA)
Webinar: New York’s Families Can’t Wait The Need for Paid Family Leave 2015 - Check out the video from the excellent webinar about Paid Family Leave on June 10 sponsored by A Better Balance. Lots of great information about how PFL would positively impact families with new babies.
It Shouldn't Be a Heavy Lift for Pregnant Workers - A report A Better Balance did with the National Women's Law Center highlighting the need for stronger legal protections 35 years after passage of the Pregnancy Discrimination Act - highlighting 8 stories from women across the country.
To learn more about the case for family leave insurance in the United States, see the A report A Better Balance September 2013 report, Investing in Our Families: The Case for Family Leave Insurance in New York and the Nation.
8 Things to Know About Paid Leave
Updated: February 17, 2018
- Workers Should Not Have to Choose Between Retirement and Caring for Their Families - The IWF's proposal suggests workers who need time off for the birth or adoption of a child to dip into their Social Security funds to replace income lost during the leave period. Workers using this option subsequently would be required to delay their retirement for some period of time. The IWF’s parental leave proposal sends a clear message: Workers who need to care for their families are on their own. However, The Family and Medical Insurance Leave Act (FAMILY Act), introduced by Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) and Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-CT), would take a completely different approach by creating a comprehensive paid family and medical leave program that would provide 12 weeks of leave and 66 percent of monthly wages. Unlike the IWF proposal being pushed by Ivanka Trump and Sens. Rubio, Lee, and Ernst, the FAMILY Act.
- Restaurant Workers Are Left Behind in New York’s New Paid Parental Leave Program - This hostile environment toward childbearing, combined with gender pay disparities and systematic sexual harassment and abuse in the hospitality industry, explain why women have a hard time rising to some of the highest-paying jobs in restaurant kitchens. Under 20 percent of the country’s head chefs are women, and those top female chefs earn on average just 78 cents for every dollar a male head chef earns — compared with 88 cents in 2014 or 97 cents in 2008, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
- Why does it cost $32,093 just to give birth in America? - America is the most expensive nation in the world to give birth. When things go wrong – from pre-eclampsia to premature birth – costs can quickly spiral into the hundreds of thousands of dollars. While the data is limited, experts in medical debt say the costs of childbirth factor into thousands of family bankruptcies in America each year. Despite these high costs, the US consistently ranks poorly in health outcomes for mothers and infants. The US rate of infant mortality is 6.1 for every 1,000 live births, higher than Slovakia and Hungary, and nearly three times the rate of Japan and Finland. The US also has the worst rate of maternal mortality in the developed world. That means America is simultaneously the most expensive and one of the riskiest industrialized nations in which to have children.
- More fathers are protesting unequal treatment at work - There is part of a wave of lawsuits by fathers around the country in recent years alleging unequal treatment in the workplace. According to a 2016 report by the Center for WorkLife Law at the University of California, the number of paternity leave cases, while still relatively small, increased 336 percent over the past decade, compared to the decade before. Men also filed more than a quarter of all the discrimination cases related to child care over the past decade. And as fathers take on more child-care duties, this number is expected to rise.
- From maternity leave to domestic violence, 7 new laws to help women workers in 2018 - “It’s a really exciting time,” said Andrea Johnson, senior counsel for state policy at the National Women’s Law Center, a Washington, D.C.-based nonprofit that advocates for women’s equality. “Progress has been stalled in Congress and at the federal level, but things have really been happening at the state level.” As the Trump administration has rolled back laws meant to promote equal pay for men and women and taken aim at federal discrimination protections such as Title IX, states are moving to fill the gaps, Johnson said.
- Severe Complications for Women During Childbirth Are Skyrocketing—and Could Often Be Prevented - The rate of life-threatening complications for new mothers in the U.S. has more than doubled in two decades due to pre-existing conditions, medical errors and unequal access to care. More than 135 expectant and new mothers a day — or more than 50,000 a year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention — endure dangerous and even life-threatening complications that often leave them wounded, weakened, traumatized, financially devastated, unable to bear more children or searching in vain for answers about what went wrong.
- Paid Family Leave: What you need to know - Starting January 1, workers in New York State will be eligible for Paid Family Leave, providing them an opportunity to take time off to care for a sick family member or bond with a new baby without losing pay. Brian Murphy, a partner at Lawley Insurance in the Employee Benefits division, said there are some key difference between Paid Family Leave and the Family Medical Leave Act, including who’s covered, what’s not and how the coverage is funded.
- Nothing Protects Black Women From Dying in Pregnancy and Childbirth - Not education. Not income. Not even being an expert on racial disparities in health care. The researcher working to eradicate disparities in health access and outcomes had become a symbol of one of the most troublesome health disparities facing black women in the U.S. today, disproportionately high rates of maternal mortality.
- Global Warming Might Be Especially Dangerous for Pregnant Women - Scientists are concerned that heat waves could be linked to more premature births and stillbirths. Pregnant women “have traditionally fallen outside of our conception of who is vulnerable to heat,” said Sabrina McCormick, a sociologist at George Washington University, whose research includes how people respond to climate change—heat in particular. “We need to really change that conception.”
- Chosen Family Should Be Included in Paid Leave Policy. We Already Know It Could Work. - Caregiving doesn't always coincide with the kinds of family relationships that have historically been recognized by U.S. laws. One recent study found that approximately one-third of people in the United States, and more than 4 in 10 LGBTQ individuals and individuals with disabilities, had taken time away from work to care for a so-called chosen family member. While discussions of chosen family often focus on queer communities, many of whom have long relied on support networks outside their legal or “blood” family, "chosen family" refers to any person with whom you have a close relationship that isn't typically recognized in the law, such as a longtime neighbor who was like a mother to you or a close friend you served alongside during a tour of duty. And the need for policymakers to recognize chosen family is only likely to increase, given the growing need for elder caregiving and the shortage of direct kin to do it.
- People Need Paid Leave Policies That Cover Chosen Family - The Center for American Progress conducted a nationally representative survey to assess how often people in the United States take time off from work to care for a chosen family member with a health issue. The survey finds that supporting chosen family members is a remarkably common occurrence: nearly one-third of people in the United States report having taken time off work to care for a friend or chosen family member with a health-related need. The data also reveal that, while virtually all kinds of people are similarly likely to report taking time off from work to care for the health-related needs of a chosen family member, some groups of people are more likely to report taking it than others, namely LGBT individuals and people with disabilities.
- What’s killing America’s new mothers? - With an estimated 26.4 deaths for every 100,000 live births in 2015, America has the highest maternal mortality rate of all industrialized countries—by several times over. In Canada, the rate is 7.3; in Western Europe, the average is 7.2, with many countries including Italy, Norway, Sweden, and Austria showing rates around 4. More women die of childbirth-related causes in the US than they do in Iran (20.8), Lebanon (15.3), Turkey (15.8), Puerto Rico (15.1), China (17.7), and many more. While most of the world has drastically reduced maternal mortality in the past three decades, the US is one of just a handful of countries where the problem worsened, and significantly.
- More Than 400 City Workers Have Utilized De Blasio Paid Parental Leave Policy - In the nearly two years since Mayor Bill de Blasio made six weeks of paid parental leave available to about 20,000 city employees, more than 400 have taken advantage of the added benefit.
- NYC bill would give workers claiming domestic abuse paid leave - New York City employers would need to grant paid time off to workers who claim to be victims of domestic violence, sexual abuse or other “family offense matters,” according to legislation passed Tuesday by the City Council.
- Walmart Is Accused of Punishing Workers for Sick Days - A report released Thursday by a workers’ advocacy group says Walmart, the nation’s largest private employer, routinely refuses to accept doctors’ notes, penalizes workers who need to take care of a sick family member and otherwise punishes employees for lawful absences. After January 1, 2018, they’ll also be violating NYS law if they keep this up. The report, based on a survey of more than 1,000 employees, accuses Walmart of violating the Americans with Disabilities Act and the Family and Medical Leave Act, among other worker-protection laws. The group argued in a lawsuit filed last month, and in an earlier complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, that Walmart discriminated against pregnant workers.
- The Importance of Paid Leave for Caregivers - Specifically, we found an 8 percent increase in labor force participation in the short run and a 14 percent increase in labor force participation in the long run. This finding is significant because individuals who experience increased and sustained labor force participation can maintain their income and see more wage growth over their lifetime. Higher labor force participation is also an indicator of a stronger labor market, with more opportunities for workers. Any paid leave plan that does not address the myriad reasons other than maternity leave that require workers to take time away from work will fall short of addressing both families’ needs as well as the potential economic benefits of a comprehensive program.
- Paid Family and Medical Leave: By the Numbers - Paid family and medical leave—a program that allows workers to take paid time off for the birth or adoption of a new child or to care for their own illness or injury or that of a loved one—is now being widely debated among policymakers and the public. Working families have a clear, demonstrated need for and support of a comprehensive national paid family and medical leave program. Policymakers must act to address this pressing issue so that American workers and families can meet their caregiving needs without sacrificing their economic security. This fact sheet details some of the key data on the need for and support of a comprehensive national paid leave program.
- Paid Maternity Leave for Teachers? California Is Considering It - A bill approved in both houses of the California legislature would allow certified teachers six paid weeks of maternity leave. "It's patently unfair to make women use sick leave and vacation time for pregnancy-related, medically necessary absences, or to recuperate after childbirth," said Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez Fletcher, the bill's author, in a statement. "We know these kinds of discriminatory leave policies are costing us good teachers because women don't want to be penalized for having a baby, and that needs to change."
- Like Teachers, Students With Babies Struggle to Pump Milk at School. Illinois is Trying to Help. - Under a bill signed by Gov. Bruce Rauner last month, public schools will need to provide public school students who are lactating "reasonable accommodations" for expressing breast milk, including access to a private and secure room (that's not a bathroom), permission to bring a pump on campus, a power source and place to store milk, and time to use the facility.
- Federal Appeals Court Rules That Employers Must Provide Equal Accommodations to Breastfeeding Workers - The Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals on Thursday recognized for the first time that employers have an obligation to provide job modifications to workers who are breastfeeding on the same terms as they accommodate workers for other conditions, and held that failing to provide them with necessary accommodations on the job can be tantamount to firing them.
- Deal Struck to Extend Financing for Children’s Health Program - The chairman of the Senate Finance Committee and the top Democrat on the panel announced on Tuesday night that they had reached agreement on a plan to prevent the imminent exhaustion of federal funds for the Children’s Health Insurance Program. Nearly nine million children receive health insurance through the program, on which the federal government has been spending about $14 billion a year. The program is for children in families that make too much to qualify for Medicaid, but not enough to afford other coverage.
- CAN A MALE EMPLOYEE SUE FOR PREGNANCY DISCRIMINATION? - Today most employers across America recognize the importance of a pregnant woman’s need for flexible work hours. The lines become blurred however when the father or partner of an unborn child also requests extra leave or a flexible schedule in order to assist the pregnant mother. Congress enacted the Pregnancy Discrimination Act of 1978 which amended Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and made it unlawful sex discrimination for an employer to discriminate on the basis of pregnancy, childbirth, or any related medical conditions. However, there is currently little case law on whether or not a male can bring a claim of employment discrimination under the Pregnancy Discrimination Act, based solely on his wife’s pregnancy.
- Dads Are Parents, too — Baby Bonding and Sex Discrimination - Should new dads receive the same amount of time off from work to bond with their newly born child as do women? That is the question at the center of a lawsuit the EEOC recently filed against cosmetics giant Estée Lauder. According to the EEOC, Estée Lauder’s parental leave program provides eligible new mothers six weeks of paid parental leave for child bonding (plus six additional paid weeks for childbirth recovery). Under the same policy, however, Estée Lauder only offers new fathers whose partners have given birth two weeks of paid leave for child bonding.
- Paid family leave is coming to New York on January 1, 2018! - Find out what you need to know with exciting new resources from A Better Balance. A Better Balance is pleased to announce the launch of FamilyLeaveWorks.org. This new and comprehensive know-your-rights tool connects workers with the information they need about New York's new paid family leave law in English and Spanish, with special information for LGBTQ parents, adoptive and foster parents, military families, and other moms, dads, and caregivers. We're also launching our new toll-free confidential hotline at 1-833-NEED-ABB, which will provide key answers and assistance in English and Spanish.
- Trans And Gender Non-Conforming Communities Need Paid Leave Now! - Employers must define "family" in a way that allows trans and gender non-conforming communities to tend to their loved ones without incurring tremendous financial burden. For TGNC individuals who are employed and for those who need care from others who are employed, paid leave can provide critical support. The USTS found health-related disparities for TGNC individuals in three areas: HIV treatment and prevention; access to TGNC-specific health care; and mental health care. These findings indicate that TGNC workers—whose unemployment rates are staggering, particularly for TGNC individuals of color (20% versus 5% for the general U.S. population)—have unique needs surrounding paid, job-protected time to address their own health needs and those of their family members. Because TGNC workers often serve as caregivers to other TGNC individuals to whom they are not biologically or legally related, workplace leave policies must define “family” inclusively so that TGNC individuals are able to provide care for each other, even without a biological or legal relationship. In light of the survey’s findings, the special role that “chosen” families often play for TGNC individuals takes on added significance.
- Welcoming Kids at Work - Virginia’s Shenandoah University, said. “We were talking leave and maternity leave and how difficult it can be for new parents -- any new parent, by birth, adoption, whatever -- to have this leave period, and then go from being at home with the child to all of the sudden taking the child to day care and coming to work.”
- Laws protect moms’ right to pump at work, but the reality is more complicated - In a country where there is no paid parental leave and where most leaves consist of just 12 weeks or less, women are returning to jobs when their bodies (and hearts) might be wanting them to do otherwise: They suffer from painful breasts, leaking milk, the stress of trying to balance a job with new family demands, plus a stigma that a mother can’t excel at work. The workplace is full of obstacles for mothers, and pumping is a big one.
- Working to Close the Breast-Feeding Gap - Dr. Chelsea McKinney was the lead author of a National Institutes of Health community study published last summer in Pediatrics, which found that the newborns of African-American women were nine times more likely than the babies of white mothers to be given formula in hospitals – a factor the researchers considered a significant contributor to the entrenched disparity in breast-feeding rates between black, white and Hispanic mothers. Although breast-feeding rates continue to climb across racial groups, a recent National Immunization Survey found just 66.4 percent of black women initiated breast-feeding in 2012 and only 35.3 percent were still breast-feeding at six months. More than 80 percent of white and Hispanic mothers initiated breast-feeding, with a little more than 50 percent still breast-feeding six months later.
- Sheryl Sandberg Says Strong Policy Needed for Paid Leave - Facebook Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg discusses paid family and medical leave during an interview with Bloomberg's Emily Chang.
- New Polling Shows that Small Businesses Strongly Support Paid Family and Medical Leave - A new poll, commissioned by the Center for American Progress and Small Business Majority, shows that 70 percent of small-business owners support a national paid family and medical leave insurance program.
- Here’s why all dads should get paternity leave - Because a large swath of the American workforce is unkind to men who seek work flexibility for family life, many men confine their roles as fathers to after-work hours. Case in point: paternity leave. Despite the stunning upheaval that occurs after the birth of a baby, 76 percent of fathers are back at work within a week, according to a survey by the Boston College Center for Work and Family. The same research found that 96 percent of men are back at work after two weeks, while 13 percent do not take a single day off.
- CAP: Paid Sick Days and Paid Family and Medical Leave Are Not Job Killers - Paid sick days and paid family and medical leave are critical to the economic security of working families. And contrary to the arguments of opponents, they are also good for businesses and the economy. Research from the many U.S. cities and states that now offer paid sick days and paid family and medical leave demonstrates the positive effects of these policies on turnover, presenteeism, and productivity.
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