Adding major insurers, with their large patient rolls and deep pockets, could start to tie these scattered efforts together, said Mark Savage, director of health information technology policy at the National Partnership for Women and Families.
However, testimony from Kevin Trapani, CEO and president of The Redwoods Group, and Maryella Gockel, flexibility leader at Ernst & Young LLP, demonstrates that such worries are misguided. Indeed, for these employers, as well as for businesses in the states that have passed paid family leave insurance laws (California, Rhode Island, and New Jersey), there has been no evidence of what witness Vicki Shabo of the National Partnership for Women & Families called the “parade of horribles”—a litany of negative business implications predicted by critics.
But that was the culmination of a difficult, nearly nine-year fight. “In the early 80s, when it was first introduced, nobody was even uttering the words work/family policy or work/life balance,” said Debra Ness, president of the National Partnership for Women & Families, which played a big role in crafting the FMLA.
The United States is one of only two countries that don’t guarantee paid maternity leave. The other one is Papua New Guinea, said Victoria S. Shabo, vice president of the National Partnership for Women and Families in Washington.
If the bills become law, it would mean that more than 300,000 additional workers gain the right to take up to five paid sick days a year, according to the National Partnership for Women and Families.
Debra Ness, president of National Partnership for Women and Families, also praised the guidelines as "a much-needed interpretation of the nation's laws banning discrimination based on pregnancy."
Although everybody needs access to paid sick time, very few actually receive it. According to the National Partnership for Women and Families, about 40% private sector workers in the United States, about 40 million workers, receive no paid sick leave at all.
The legislative interference comes at a time when we are working hard to improve the quality of care and make it more patient-and family-centered. This contrast was noted in a new report from the National Partnership for Women & Families, "Bad Medicine: How a Political Agenda is Undermining Women's Health Care," which examines abortion restrictions that are contrary to medical standards and efforts to improve care.
"There is still a stigma against hiring younger women for some jobs, where an employer wants to know somebody is going to be on a job for years without interruption," said Vicki Shabo, vice president at the National Partnership for Women & Families.
Vicki Shabo, Vice President at the National Partnership for Women and Families, the organization that helped create the FMLA, says if the U.S. does not pass a more comprehensive paid maternity leave plan, then it will face many consequences. “It’s not something that each family should be dealing with individually,” said Shabo. “Because it’s got consequences for the nation, it’s got consequences for the economy it’s got consequences for health and families well-being, it has consequences for businesses who are losing talented workers and facing unnecessary retention costs of turnover.”
According to the National Partnership for Women & Families, almost half of all workers eligible for FMLA leave have been unable to take time off because they simply can’t afford to go without income.
Debra L. Ness, president of the National Partnership for Women and Families, called the new guidelines "a powerful tool in the effort to eradicate the unlawful and unequal treatment of pregnant women in the workplace."
The EEOC's guidance is a “long-awaited” and “much needed” measure that clarifies pregnant workers' rights under the PDA and the ADA, said Vicki Shabo, vice president of the National Partnership for Women & Families in Washington.
“Despite existing protections, pregnancy discrimination remains a serious problem for women and families in this country,” said Debra L. Ness, president of the National Partnership for Women & Families.
“Politics are taking over our exam rooms and that is a dangerous, disturbing trend,” the National Partnership’s president, Debra L. Ness, noted in a statement released to coincide with the new findings. “More and more, lawmakers across the country are enacting laws that mandate how health care providers must practice medicine.”
A new report from the National Partnership for Women & Families explores the common anti-choice restrictions that are forcing doctors to choose between following the law and doing what they know is best for their patients.
“I like the two tracks a lot, it’s reflective of the reality while keeping the foot on the pedal,” said Christine Bechtel, vice president of the National Partnership for Women and Families, during a discussion preceding the vote.
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