The Need for Fairness in the WorkplaceMany workplace norms and laws were developed over half a century ago, when a different workforce model and a different family model prevailed. In 1960, 70% of families had at least one parent at home full-time. Today, 70% of children are growing up in families headed by either a single working parent or two working parents. A Better Balance is working to change laws and policies to better reflect the way Americans live and work today.
The Need for Paid Sick LeaveIt comes as a shock to many Americans, who take for granted that they can stay home from work when they are sick, that 40 to 44 million of their fellow workers don’t have a single paid sick day. In fact, 38 percent of private sector U.S. employees have no paid sick time according to government statistics. Even fewer workers can take time off if their child or another family member is sick.
The Need for Paid Family LeaveThe United States stands alone among industrialized countries in failing to guarantee workers paid family leave. When a loved one has a health crisis, or when a new child is born or adopted, far too many American workers are forced to take unpaid leave or exit the workforce altogether. Low-income workers and their families are especially vulnerable as they often lack the financial resources necessary to take advantage of unpaid time off.
The Need to Value Care Work The United States suffers from widespread and persistent devaluation of care work. Our country treats the work of caring for children, the elderly, and those who are sick or disabled as secondary to other forms of labor. As a result, the work of caregiving is often poorly compensated or completely unpaid and, because it is treated as a private concern, the labor it involves becomes invisible. The labor of stay-at-home parents is taken for granted and domestic workers who provide paid care usually perform their labor without adequate legal protections.
After years of activism, the New York City Council passed the Earned Sick Time Act, which A Better Balance helped to draft, by a veto-proof majority of 45-3! Sherry Leiwant, our Co-President and Co-Founder, was of the key negotiators who reached a compromise with the City Council Speaker on the legislation. Click here for an overview of the bill, which will ensure that New Yorkers cannot be fired for taking a day off when they or certain family members are sick and will ultimately require all employers with 15 or more employees to provide up to 5 paid sick days per year. This victory comes on the heels of a big win for paid sick time in Portland, OR, where A Better Balance also played a significant role!
New Report on LGBT Workers.Time for a Change: The Case for LGBT-Inclusive Workplace Leave Laws & Nondiscrimination Protections discusses the laws that apply to LGBT workers who need leave for personal health or family caregiving reasons, as well as LGBT-specific gaps in the law. Due to these shortcomings in the law and the demographics of LGBT Americans, LGBT workers and their loved ones have a critical need for stronger workplace leave and nondiscrimination laws. Click here to learn more.
New York Women's Equality Coalition Over 500 Organizations Strong. Dina Bakst, A Better Balance Co-Founder & Co-President, spoke at a press conference in Albany on March 4, 2013 as part of the launch of the New York Women's Equality Coalition. Over 500 organizations have all come together to support Governor Cuomo's progressive 10-point Women's Equality Agenda (WEA). The WEA is a critical reform effort that will break down barriers and move toward equal treatment for women under many areas of the law, such as fairness in the workplace for pregnant employees and mothers. To learn more about the WEA, click here.
A Busy Year for A Better Balance. Click here to read our fall newsletter and learn about the exciting victories we achieved this past year for working families. Best wishes to you and your family for much joy in 2013!
Work-Family Issues and the LGBT and HIV/AIDS Communities. A Better Balance is fighting to give LGBT workers and workers living with HIV/AIDS the time and flexibility they need to care for themselves and their loved ones, without jeopardizing their economic security. To learn more about our work in this area, check out our new LGBT and HIV/AIDS Documents and Resources page.
City Councilmembers Introduce Pregnant Workers Fairness Act. City Councilmembers Vacca, Palma, Rose, & Lander introduced the NYC Pregnant Workers Fairness Act on November 27, 2012, a bill that will protect pregnant workers in all five boroughs who need a simple modification to stay healthy and on the job. Read our fact sheet and press release.
A Better Balance (ABB) and the National Women’s Law Center (NWLC) released a new report today, "It Shouldn’t Be a Heavy Lift: Fair Treatment for Pregnant Workers," that outlines the factual and legal landscape of pregnancy discrimination in America and the shocking continued failure of some employers to make accommodations so that pregnant women can stay healthy and on the job.
Today marks the 50th anniversary of the Equal Pay Act (EPA). Unfortunately, even though it’s been five decades since the EPA passed, there is still a pernicious wage gap that persists—women earn between 64 and 84 cents to a man’s dollar in New York State. Thankfully, the New York State Women’s Equality Act, introduced last week by Governor Cuomo, would work to eliminate this wage gap.
Free legal clinic for low-income pregnant women and family caregivers in New York. ABB and the law firm Outten & Golden LLP run a monthly clinic for people who experience workplace problems related to their family responsibilities.