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REPORT | Expecting Better is a comprehensive analysis of state laws and regulations governing paid leave and workplace rights for new parents in the United States.
Submitted to the U.S. House Committee on Education and the Workforce Subcommittee on Workforce Protections Hearing on H.R. 1406, the Working Families Flexibility Act
On behalf of the 700,000 officers and members of the Communications Workers of America (CWA), I would like to bring two bills to your attention. Both bills purport to help working families with their health and financial needs. One, The Working Families Flexibility Act, fails miserably. The other, The Healthy Families Act, goes a long way towards supporting families in a meaningful way.
The Working Families Flexibility Act, to be introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives the week of April 8, 2013 by Martha Roby (R-AL), claims to give working men and women in hourly jobs more time with their families by allowing them, through an agreement with their employer, to choose paid time off as compensation for working more than 40 hours in one week (“comp time”). This proposal is one of the centerpieces of House Majority Leader Eric Cantor’s “make life work” agenda.
Despite its name, the Cantor/Roby Working Families Flexibility Act of 2013 sets up a dangerous false choice between time and money, when working families really need both. The bill does not promote family friendly or flexible workplaces. Instead, it would erode hourly workers’ ability to make ends meet, plan for family time and have predictability, stability and true flexibility at work.
Millions of Americans who are elderly, disabled, or chronically ill rely on family caregivers, as do our nation's children. Many of these family caregivers are struggling to manage both their caregiving responsibilities and the jobs they need to support their families.
The 111th Congress Work and Family Agenda focuses on three areas: 1. Guaranteeing workers paid sick days for short-term, common illnesses; 2. Guaranteeing workers paid family and medical leave to care for longer-term, serious health conditions and to bond with new children; and 3. Correcting and expanding the FMLA to cover more workers.
Section 4207 of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act gives covered women workers the right to reasonable break times and a private location to express milk at work. The statute is intended to ensure that all working mothers covered by the provision have workplace protections that allow them to continue to provide breast milk for their babies for the first year of life, the period recommended by healthcare experts.
Grandparents are the glue that holds many families together - yet our workplace laws don't honor their critical role.
Some professional workers have successfully negotiated an array of flexible working arrangements, but many face significant barriers in accessing and utilizing the basic flexibility they need. Professional workers are often expected to work long hours and to be available after regular business hours.
Changes in the demographic composition of the U.S. workforce mean that more women and men are actively engaging in both paid work and care work. As of 2010, the percentage of children who had both parents (in married‐couple families), or their only parent, in the labor force reached 72.3%, an increase of 13 percentage points since the mid‐1980s.
Every year roughly four million women give birth in the United States, and more than 75 percent of them choose to breastfeed. But with two-thirds of today’s working women returning to work within three months of giving birth, a lack of supportive workplace policies and laws is forcing too many nursing mothers to quit breastfeeding (or never start).
Workers should not have to choose between a paycheck, their job, and their own health or the health of their families. Yet, because of the lack of policies that help workers meet their family responsibilities, many workers face this choice every day.
The changing workforce in the United States and new business norms mean that employers and employees are searching for effective ways to promote flexibility. Like workers everywhere, the workers in the Dallas discussion group have a wide array of caregiving and personal responsibilities.
Women's Equality Day commemorates the adoption of the 19th Amendment to U.S. Constitution, which guaranteed women the right to vote. More than 90 years later, the fight for women's equal access and opportunity continues—especially in workplaces across the country.
A rich and growing literature attests to the benefits that accrue to workers, families, businesses, and the public when workers have access to paid leave to care for a new child. Such benefits include lower likelihood of premature birth, improvements in breastfeeding establishment and duration, and higher likelihood of obtaining well‐baby care.
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