Aug 23, 2015

One in Four Mothers Return to Work Within Two Weeks of Giving Birth

Republican Party-ALEC schemes against paid maternity and sick leave belie GOP's pro-family posturing

Sharon Lerner's investigative piece in In These Times reveals a fact of American society demonstrating how anti-family the Republican Party has become.

Thirty of 34 member countries in the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD)—democracies with market economies—legally require an "average of more than a year of paid maternity leave," notes Lerner.

The United States is not one of those 30 countries, thanks to Republican Party efforts blocking paid maternity and paid sick leave laws.

Three states dominated by the Democratic Party—California (since 2002), New Jersey (since 2008) and Rhode Island (since 2013)—have paid family leave statutes.

In response, "[c]orporate-backed bills have passed at the state level in Wisconsin, Louisiana, and Mississippi that would preempt (or as one GOP operative put it, 'deliver the kill shot' to) local laws requiring paid sick days. ... In May of 2011, Governor Walker pushed Senate Bill 23 to override a Milwaukee ordinance providing for paid sick days. It appeared to be the first paid sick days preemption bill passed in the country. Milwaukee's ordinance specified that paid sick days could be used if a worker is ill or needs to care for a sick child, and passed via referendum with over 70 percent of the popular vote in 2008," notes Brendan Fischer and Mary Bottari at PRWatch.

Nationally, the Democratic Party is pushing for paid maternity and sick leave against Republican opposition, (a commitment originating from the corporate American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC)).

Writes Lerner:
The Obama administration is attempting to build momentum for paid sick leave, one of the main ways women piece together paid maternity leave. In the 2015 State of the Union address, President Obama called on Congress to send him a bill guaranteeing U.S. workers seven days of paid sick leave—but in early August, Senate Republicans blocked a Democrat-sponsored bill to do so. In the meantime, Obama has an executive order in the works that will extend a week of paid sick leave to all federal contractors, and his adminstration has issued $1.25 million in grants to study how paid leave programs can be developed in states. Labor Secretary Tom Perez, who has been outspoken on the issue, has spearheaded a #leadonleave campaign, in which he and White House aide Valerie Jarrett travel the country to boost local paid leave policies.
Check out Lerner's piece that one hopes will propel the campaigns for the presidency to seek mandates for sane policy on paid maternity and paid sick leave, and simple decency.

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