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Paid Family Leave Gets MoreAttention, but Workers Still Stru

发布日期:2016-12-16     [assignment代写]      来源于:Claire Cain Miller
导读:Paid Family Leave Gets MoreAttention, but Workers Still Struggle Claire Cain Miller @clairecm JAN. 7, 2016 This year is shaping up to be a big one for paid family leave.On Thursday, the Independent Democratic Conference, a breakawaygroup o

Paid Family Leave Gets MoreAttention, but Workers Still Struggle

Claire Cain Miller @clairecm JAN. 7, 2016

This year is shaping up to be a big one for paid family leave.On Thursday, the Independent Democratic Conference, a breakawaygroup of New York state senators, plans to introduce 12 weeks of paid leave aspart of its legislative agenda; Gov. Andrew Cuomo is reportedly consideringsimilar legislation. At the end of 2015, Bill de Blasio, the mayor of New York,signed an executive order giving 20,000 city employees six weeks of fully paidleave after the birth or adoption of a child.Nationally, meanwhile, some presidential candidates — the Democratsand at least one Republican, Marco Rubio — are making it a campaign issue.But for all the political sparring and lobbying to pass paid leave laws, theyaddress just a sliver of the challenges that working families face.After the first few weeks of a child’s life, working parents have at least 18more years to juggle work and child rearing. And many of the policies don’taddress the huge numbers of workers who need time to care for ailing parentsor spouses or to deal with their own health problems.

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“It doesn’t take three months to raise a child,” said Joan Williams,founding director of the Center for WorkLife Law at the University ofCalifornia, Hastings.

“Paid leave is a drop in the bucket. It’s a very importantdrop, but it’s a very empty bucket.”The United States is the only industrialized country to offer no paid familyor sick leave (the Family and Medical Leave Act gives certain employees 12weeks of unpaid leave.) Advocates say state and local paid leave laws are a firststep — if a small one — toward addressing the bigger issues.

“We recognize the standards we’re working for are minimum andminimal, but we’re trying to help educate people,” said Ellen Bravo, executivedirector of Family Values @ Work, a network of groups pushing for paid leave.Though a national policy seems far-fetched in the current politicalclimate, some policy makers are trying.

 Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, aDemocrat of New York, and Representative Rosa DeLauro, a Democrat ofConnecticut, have introduced the Family Act, which would give Americanspaid time off to care for babies or sick family members.They would pay for it by creating a trust fund within the Social SecurityAdministration. Employers and employees would each contribute 0.2 percentof wages, so business and government would not have to pay when workerstook time off.

That model is similar to the one in the three states that offerpaid family leave; California, New Jersey and Rhode Island finance it throughpayroll taxes for existing temporary disability programs. The New York StateSenate proposal would also do this.Yet even a national policy would not address a deeper problem in theAmerican workplace, people who study the issue say: a culture of overwork.Americans’ hours have increased sharply over the last four decades, accordingto Current Population Survey data.

Earners in the 60th to 95th percentile workan average of 2,015 hours a year, essentially a full day’s work every workdaywith no time off. Long hours have become a status symbol among the well paid, and people at these types of jobs are expected to be reachable 24/7 formore off-hours work.

Low-wage workers, meanwhile, deal with not getting enough hours andunpredictable schedules. They also have many fewer of the additional family-friendly benefits that some highly paid workers get, like backup child care, freefood or the ability to telecommute.

“Employers assume a worker who’s always available for work, with noother responsibility,” Ms. Williams said. “If you’re not, whether you’re anurse’s aide or an investment banker, you’re seriously disadvantaged.”Parents struggle with inflexible jobs long after their children arenewborns, and taking care of older family members is becoming a bigger issueas the baby boomers age. Grown children are the single greatest source of carefor the elderly in the United States. Nearly half of Americans between the agesof 40 and 60 have a parent over 65 and are supporting a child. A third of themsay they always feel rushed, according to the Pew Research Center.

For politicians, paid parental leave is one way to address economicanxiety among workers. But they may soon find Americans who are stressedbalancing work and family seek relief beyond the first few weeks of theirchildren’s lives.The Upshot provides news, analysis and graphics about politics, policy andeveryday life.

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(编辑:Claire Cain Miller )
原文标题:Paid Family Leave Gets MoreAttention, but Workers Still Stru

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