FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Testimony of Karen Minatelli, Director, Work and Family Programs
EEOC Hearing on Best Practices for Caregivers in Employment
WASHINGTON, DC — April 22, 2009 — Thank you very much for the opportunity to testify today about the importance of employment policies that support caregivers in the workplace, especially in the difficult
economic times we face. We are very pleased that the EEOC is continuing to use its
public meetings to draw attention to how workplaces treat caregivers, building on the
guidance on caregiver discrimination the agency issued earlier.
The National Partnership for Women & Families is a non-profit, nonpartisan advocacy
organization with more than 35 years of experience promoting fairness in the workplace,
access to quality health care, and policies that help women and men meet the competing
demands of work and family. Since our creation as the Women’s Legal Defense Fund in
1971, we have worked extensively on enforcement of employment discrimination laws
and have fought for equal opportunity in the workplace — by making sure that women are
paid equally for equal work, opening opportunities for women in non-traditional jobs,
ensuring that pregnant women do not face discrimination, and working to make sexual
harassment in the workplace illegal. The EEOC has been a partner in these efforts, most
recently by issuing the guidance on caregiver discrimination that makes clear that unfair
treatment of workers with caregiving responsibilities, especially mothers, can be
addressed under Title VII.
One of our proudest accomplishments is our work on the Family and Medical Leave Act
(FMLA), the only federal law that helps our nation’s workers meet the dual demands of
work and family. We wrote the initial draft of the bill; built a broad-based, strong
coalition of more than 250 national and local organizations to support it; and pushed for
nine years until it was enacted. Tens of millions of Americans are better off as a result.
We are still the stewards of the FMLA, working to make its protections available to all
workers who need it. The FMLA provides unpaid, job-protected leave for up to 12 weeks
a year for caregiving — to care for a newborn, newly adopted or foster child, to care for a
seriously ill family member, or to recover from an employee’s own serious illness. It also
protects the health insurance of those on leave. More »
The National Partnership is a non-profit, non-partisan advocacy group dedicated to promoting access to quality health care, fairness in the workplace, and policies that help women and men meet the dual demands of work and family.