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map showing which countries have paid sick leave; U.S. is one of very few that does not

Speaker Pelosi project bug
Listing the rights and protections that are common around the world but that American workers don't have is downright depressing. One of the big areas? The ability to not work when you need time off: paid sick leave, parental leave, family leave, and more. Since women take on disproportionate amounts of care work, these are all things that hit women harder than men, creating one more obstacle for women to climb over in building and keeping careers. These issues take a back seat for too many Democratic politicians; Republicans, meanwhile, outright oppose anything that gives workers control over when they work. But women are pushing to get paid leave on the agenda:
Only one in five low-wage workers have paid sick leave, and 48 percent of all full-time workers in the private sector have no access to paid medical or family leave. Dozens of women at a women's health town hall at the White House in June expressed the dire need for a federally funded paid maternity leave program. And while President Barack Obama did include a $50 million State Paid Leave Fundin his 2011 budget, the issue of paid time off has largely been ignored by candidates in the current campaign season.

Jessica Smith, a 26-year-old graduate student of social work at the University of Denver, has circulated a petition asking moderator Jim Lehrer to question Obama and GOP nominee Mitt Romney about paid sick days and family leave insurance policies at the first presidential debate on Wednesday.

Since parental leave is so hard to come by, discrimination during pregnancy is another issue women have to worry about. The Pregnant Workers Fairness Act:
builds on existing anti-discrimination laws by extending specific protections to pregnant employees. The legislation directs employers to “make reasonable accommodations" for an employee or job applicant's  limitations stemming from "pregnancy, childbirth, or related medical conditions,” unless this would pose “undue hardship” on the business. In addition, as the New York Times' Motherlode explains, the law would bar employers from "using a worker’s pregnancy to deny her opportunities on the job [or] force her to take an accommodation that she does not want or need.” The bill also directs the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission to set regulations for implementing these laws, including “a list of exemplary reasonable accommodations."
Goal Thermometer
The bill was introduced by House Democrats in May and by Senate Democrats in September and it stands zero chance of passage as long as Republicans control the House and filibuster everything in the Senate.

We're talking about basic rights, here. Staying home when you or a member of your family is sick and still being able to pay the bills. Not losing your job because you're pregnant. Things workers around the world can count on that American workers can only dream about. And it's a dream, not a reality, because Republicans (and, unfortunately, some Democrats, like New York City council Speaker Christine Quinn) are standing in the way.

The only chance we have at things like paid sick leave is electing Democrats, and then beating the hell out of the Democrats, like Quinn, who still stand in the way. So just as it took years of organizing and multiple tries to pass the Family and Medical Leave Act, that's what we have to be ready for here. But the only way to even take the first step of getting the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act (a very limited bill just prohibiting discrimination, for crying out loud) to a vote in the House is to get the gavel back in the hands of Speaker Pelosi. We're fighting here to even get the main event.

Please give $3 to each of the candidates on our Speaker Pelosi Project list so we can get in the fight to outlaw discrimination against pregnant workers and get paid sick leave for all of us.

Originally posted to Daily Kos Labor on Tue Oct 02, 2012 at 03:02 PM PDT.

Also republished by In Support of Labor and Unions and Daily Kos.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Some thoughts on this... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Democrats Ramshield

    You did not build that
    So long as there is no proper provision for workers' sick leave, employers are benefiting from a tax on workers.
    Free Rider
    So long as there is no Federal regulation, an employer cannot voluntarily afford to provide meaningful sick leave because it will suffer a disadvantage compared to its Scrooge competition.
    It's Insurance
    It's not a worker's fault if he or she needs sick leave, but neither is it an employer's.  Sick leave is structured as an insurance, explicitly or implicitly, where workers pay a premium, employers and workers share the risk of a "deductible" ( to discourage abuse) and insurance kicks in after that.

    γνωθι σεαυτόν

    by halef on Tue Oct 02, 2012 at 07:10:54 PM PDT

  •  thank you for this, Laura :) (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Democrats Ramshield

    As someone who is currently thinking about having a baby, these issues are something that I think about ALL THE TIME.  I have taken out a short-term disability policy for maternity leave, but it only covers 75 percent of my salary.  All of my sick and annual leave will be gone when I come back from maternity leave.  And then there's the issue of affordable childcare, or lack thereof.  I often wonder why anyone even has kids anymore.....this country does NOTHING to encourage people to have children.  

  •  Good company we have there. (5+ / 0-)

    Chad, Angola, India.

    Elmo needs to go underground.  

    "The attack on the truth by war begins long before war starts and continues long after a war ends." -Julian Assange

    by Pierro Sraffa on Sat Oct 06, 2012 at 06:04:25 PM PDT

  •  woot! (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    james321, Navy Vet Terp, YucatanMan

    we're in the same company as Chad and Angola!

  •  US, India, Chad, Angola (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    james321, sc kitty, YucatanMan

    That map is kind of shocking.

  •  True. Of course, that doesn't make things any (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    james321

    easier for the men who are in that situation.

    Since women take on disproportionate amounts of care work, these are all things that hit women harder than men, creating one more obstacle for women to climb over in building and keeping careers.
    Just something to keep in mind.

    Paul Ryan has risen to prominence because he thinks that poor people should suffer and he doesn't mind saying so.

    by VictorLaszlo on Sat Oct 06, 2012 at 06:06:26 PM PDT

  •  UH...where is the Religious Right on this issue??? (6+ / 0-)

    Aren't they suppose to be pro-family/pro-life?????

    Just asking.

    •  Only the "traditional family" (3+ / 0-)

      which can no longer exist in most cases for economic reasons. You know the one: dad works at that nice, stable, white-collar job with the good salary, mom stays home and bakes cookies for the kids. Virtually nonexistent for those not named Mitt & Ann Romney.

      Take the "Can't(or)" out of Congress. Support E. Wayne Powell in Va-07. http://www.ewaynepowell.com/

      by anastasia p on Sat Oct 06, 2012 at 06:21:30 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  ya know.... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      YucatanMan

      In quite a few cases their pro-family/pro-life stance consists of a very limited, narrow view of what they deem important about family and life.

      I think, therefore I am........................... Plus ca change, plus c'est la meme chose....AKA Engine Nighthawk - don't even ask!

      by Lilyvt on Sat Oct 06, 2012 at 06:25:58 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Where's the Religious Right? (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      YucatanMan, VictorLaszlo, elfling

      Exactly!

      "Boy, these conservatives are really something, aren't they? They're all in favor of the unborn. They will do anything for the unborn. But once you're born, you're on your own. Pro-life conservatives are obsessed with the fetus from conception to nine months. After that, they don't want to know about you. They don't want to hear from you. No nothing. No neonatal care, no day care, no head start, no school lunch, no food stamps, no welfare, no nothing. If you're preborn, you're fine; if you're preschool, you're f*cked."  -George Carlin

      Condemned To Repeat It blog

    •  "Pro-family/pro-life" (4+ / 0-)

      Only from conception to birth, then you are on your own.  

      They remind me of what Abraham Lincoln said, commenting on the Know Nothings - that if blacks are not considered worthy of equal rights, and now Catholics are not considered worthy of equal rights "then I would rather move to Russia, where I can breathe the pure air of depotism, unpolluted by the stench of hypocrisy."

      "We have always known that heedless self-interest was bad morals, now we know that it is bad economics." Franklin Delano Roosevelt, Jan. 20, 1937

      by Navy Vet Terp on Sat Oct 06, 2012 at 06:32:07 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Despite the fact that one of Jesus Christ's (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      LaraJones, elfling

      strongest lessons was to care for the poor, the sick, the elderly, the untouchables, those who are different from us, the righteous Religious Right is entirely silent on those lessons when it comes to electing Republicans.

      Which means that either they pretend Jesus Christ never gave those lessons (denialists, again?)  or they admit that those are among Christ's clearest teachings and the Religious Right Republicans are too lazy, too greedy, too self-centered and too damn mean to care what Christ said.

      Which would mean they are hypocrites and not Christian at all.  Hmmmmmm..........

      "The law is meant to be my servant and not my master, still less my torturer and my murderer." -- James Baldwin. July 11, 1966.

      by YucatanMan on Sat Oct 06, 2012 at 06:51:22 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Seriously: if you actually wanted fewer abortions (0+ / 0-)

      a policy like this would be top of your list, especially since it's been amply shown to be workable in other nations and in the People's Republic of California.

      Fry, don't be a hero! It's not covered by our health plan!

      by elfling on Sat Oct 06, 2012 at 10:30:12 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  ...with its head up its ass, as usual. (0+ / 0-)

      Retired AFSCME Steward and union thug-licensed gun carrying progressive veteran.

      by old mark on Sun Oct 07, 2012 at 03:18:06 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  add to that.... (0+ / 0-)

    Companies that do offer sick days....with the stipulation if you take them you are given a 'demerit'.  With demerits come a verbal warning, then a written warning, then it's buhbye.
    Coming into a work area with communicable diseases is at the least uncomfortable for the person who's sick, at the worst, it infects everyone around them and with buildings with no open windows the sickness just stays and stays.
    The whole policy of having sick days count against you is cruel, affects everyone and, yes, is just plain 'sick'.

    I think, therefore I am........................... Plus ca change, plus c'est la meme chose....AKA Engine Nighthawk - don't even ask!

    by Lilyvt on Sat Oct 06, 2012 at 06:22:29 PM PDT

  •  The City of Seattle (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    SLKRR

    has recently passed a law requiring employers with 4 or more employees to offer sick leave to all full-time, part-time and temporary employees.  
    Again it happens from the bottom up.

    Not all those who wander are lost.

    by Leftleaner on Sat Oct 06, 2012 at 06:28:27 PM PDT

  •  If we can pass FMLA, we should be able to (0+ / 0-)

    pass sick leave pregnancy leave for all. My wife and I alternated six weeks each for the birth of our son but we were lucky enough to have good jobs and bosses that allowed us to use our accumulated annual and sick leave.

    All workers should have this option, bare minimum. Several months or a year maternity would be better.

  •  That map was news to me (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    LaraJones

    It is truly bizarre.  I didn't even know that there was no paid sick leave for pregnancy.

    Why?  I don't get it.

    I guess we need far more women in politics, women who care about women.  Or real men who have compassion and are not brain dead.

    Daily Kos an oasis of truth. Truth that leads to action.

    by Shockwave on Sat Oct 06, 2012 at 06:30:56 PM PDT

  •  So, I just brought this up to my mother (0+ / 0-)

    who blindly votes Republican, and buys into whatever bullshit that employers and others spew to get her to sympathize with them.

    Evidently the group home she works for here in CT is now required to pay sick time, including to part-time employees. Because she is full time and rarely if ever calls out sick, she sees this as the "job and small business killing" regulation that employers and Rethugs claim it is.

    She buys the bullshit and votes against her own interests time and time again, even when presented with the fact that amongst the industrial world and even third world, we are an outlier on this and others employee rights.

    Very frustrating

  •  Brazil has 6 months leave... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    YucatanMan, LaraJones

    ...after the birth of a child.  

    And supposedly we're the "undeveloped" country... ;-)

    Article 196. Health care is the right of everyone and the obligation of the State, guaranteed through social and economic policies that provide... universal and equitable access to programs and services for its promotion, protection, and recuperation.

    by SLKRR on Sat Oct 06, 2012 at 06:43:15 PM PDT

  •  Connecticut Has Paid Sick Days (0+ / 0-)

    Connecticut's paid sick days law was passed in 2011 and took effect on January 1 of this year.

    37, male, NY-14 (born), NJ-9 (raised), MA-1 (college), CT-1 (now)

    by kalu on Sat Oct 06, 2012 at 07:04:00 PM PDT

  •  The map is BS. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Utahrd

    I'm not addressing individual US state policies (such as the previous commenter). But there is no way that "Ethiopia" which does not really exist as a country - since it has no recognized government - has mandatory paid sick leave.

    And while I do know that most of Europe is much more progressive than the US is on this, I also know that there is no way that nation states that try to prohibit women from even working, have policies that require "paid sick leave and pregnancy" protections for all workers... like women.

    And that's not even to mention Nigeria, Libya, Sudan and many other countries. How about Bulgaria?

    This is an important issue- but really- that map is pretty useless.

  •  america lags behind (0+ / 0-)

    many nations in the rights it grants to its citizens, but what is the best country on earth supposed to do, take care of all the takers.

  •  Bob Casey and Jeanne Shaheen... (0+ / 0-)

    ...are the Senate sponsors of the Pregnant Women Fairness Act in the Senate.

    I point this out because I know there are people who routinely criticize Senator Casey - my Senator - as being less than progressive or even a "useless" conservadem.

    Yes, Senator Casey opposes abortion rights. Yes, I disagree with him on that. But at least he recognizes that "protecting life" means protecting life beyond the womb as well.

    He introduced the PWFA, he supported the Affordable Care Act - including the public option - and has not stopped defending it. He's a cosponsor of the Senate version of the Violence Against Women reauthorization. He opposes removing federal funding for Planned Parenthood, and he supports paid sick leave, and a range of important workplace reforms. Indeed, beyond abortion, gun control, and some aspects of foreign policy, his voting record isn't actually that different from Sherrod Brown.

  •  I Make A Point Of Bringing Influenza To The Office (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    elfling

    Sharing is caring

    There’s always free cheddar in a mousetrap, baby

    by bernardpliers on Sat Oct 06, 2012 at 10:04:30 PM PDT

  •  California does have disability payments (0+ / 0-)

    for pregnancy. And California hardly seems to have suffered for it. The rest of the country could do it too.

    It was enormously helpful when my daughter was born.

    Seriously, what could be more family friendly than disability payments for 6-8 weeks for childbirth?

    Fry, don't be a hero! It's not covered by our health plan!

    by elfling on Sat Oct 06, 2012 at 10:27:36 PM PDT

  •  I live in Oman (0+ / 0-)

    where working women, whether nationals or not, get two months paid maternity leave at full.  They can takean additional rwo months at half-pay, and another two months unpaid.  As for minimum paid sick leave, everyone gets two months, again, regardless of nationality.  So this is the Third World?!?!

    -7.13 / -6.97 "The people never give up their liberties but under some delusion." -- Edmund Burke

    by GulfExpat on Sun Oct 07, 2012 at 01:46:50 AM PDT

  •  I pay my employees when they are sick (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    elfling

    In the last month in my small office, I have had one employee out for two weeks following a hospital stay, another out for two  days with a virus, and one out for a sick kid. If I didn’t pay them when they are sick here is what would have happened. The hospitalized employee would have come back to work too early, and possibly caused more absences in the future because of not being completely recovered. The stomach virus would have been passed around the office, as a matter of fact that employee did come in the second morning but her two co-workers who share an office with her asked me to make her go home. My employee with the sick kid has a husband who works away from home for two weeks at a time and her babysitter is undergoing chemotherapy and did not need to be around a sick child.

    I offer paid sick time because it makes good sense and is the right thing to do for the company and my employees.

    If you are not part of the solution, you are part of the problem.

    by texaslucy on Sun Oct 07, 2012 at 07:06:01 AM PDT

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