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President Barack Obama writes a school excuse note for Alanah Poullard, 5, while visiting with Wounded Warriors and their families in the East Room during their tour of the White House, Sept. 19, 2013. Alanah asked for a note to show her kindergarten teac
Workers in the Obama White House are able to take advantage of family leave that's crappy in world context but excellent in U.S. context:
... according to Jessica Santillo, a spokesperson for the administration, the White House "provides up to six weeks of paid leave and employees can use any of their accrued leave, such as sick or annual leave, or unpaid leave, for the other six weeks." [...]

Compared to what other federal workers get ... it's downright generous. Federal workers are entitled to 12 weeks off for the birth of a child and care of a newborn, per the Family and Medical Leave Act guidelines. But they are not entitled to pay during that period.

The Obama administration is trying to draw attention to family leave policies ahead of a June 23 Summit on Working Families. "As we examine solutions for all Americans in both the private and public sectors," an administration official said, "we hope that Congress also acts to grant this benefit to workers across the federal government." Family leave shouldn't stop with federal workers, either: Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) and Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-CT) are pushing the Family and Medical Insurance Leave Act, which would create a national insurance system providing workers with paid leave to deal with their own illness or care for a family member.

When it comes to parental or family leave, the United States is downright pathetic, as it is on so many other things that are basic, legally mandated benefits for workers in other countries. It's time for this to change.

Originally posted to Daily Kos Labor on Mon Jun 16, 2014 at 10:20 AM PDT.

Also republished by Daily Kos.

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Comment Preferences

  •  When my father shattered his knee, in 1977, (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    a2nite, kfunk937

    he was off work for six months. The only way he was able to survive was the fact he never took a day off work sick and he had accrued that much paid sick leave over close to 15 years of federal service.

    "Nothing in all the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity." --M. L. King "You can't fix stupid" --Ron White -6.00, -5.18

    by zenbassoon on Mon Jun 16, 2014 at 10:42:21 AM PDT

  •  What FMLA??? (0+ / 0-)

    I'm confused about this law. I've been working since 1985, when I was 14. Since this law went into effect I've worked through illnesses and pregnancies and babies to tend to and have never had a single paid day off, ever. Neither have most people I've known. A lucky few get a handful of paid sick days a year. Who, exactly, is this law being applied to?

    •  When I used it... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      I was allowed to use my sick time to go take of my mother who had just gotten out of surgery.  I needed a doctor's note as proof I had done such a thing.

    •  You are entitled to 12 weeks (0+ / 0-)

      to recover from or treat an illness, to care for a sick parent, spouse or child, and to care for a newborn after pregnancy.
      The days you take off do not have to be taken all at once.  Your employer can't fire you for taking this leave, and they cannot factor it into a performance appraisal.  They are under no obligation to pay you during your leave.  Employees can use accrued sick and vacation hours if they have them.  If they don't, then they lose a quarter of their annual income just when they are being hit with medical bills.


      "YOPP!" --Horton Hears a Who

      by Reepicheep on Wed Jun 18, 2014 at 08:42:25 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Sorry, off topic, but that picture... (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    rabrock, Hoghead99, quetzalmom

    That little girl so focused on President Obama. What a cute kid (and an excellent picture choice for your diary). Thanks.

  •  It's criminal. (6+ / 0-)

    It's also downright stupid.

    A significant portion of this country has this bizarre view that people aren't working hard enough, don't deserve the benefits they do get and asking for more is a sign of laziness.

    They look and see others on the same social level as them with more, they don't ask "how can I get that?", they become angry and demand others have less.

    And then they growl about "takers" and "unions"; somehow convinced they're getting taken advantage of.

    They are.  But not by other workers.

    This mindset has been built over decades by corporations and demagogues who directly benefit from taking advantage of the poor and middle class.

    It's incredibly sad and we're never going to get anywhere as a nation as long as we let it drag us down.

  •  Bill Clinton and the Democrats... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

       ...passed the FMLA, to my knowledge. I was able to take off to look after my mom after dad died. But for FMLA, I don't know what we'd have done!

    Compost for a greener piles?

    by Hoghead99 on Wed Jun 18, 2014 at 07:41:50 PM PDT

  •  I would rather we not be like other countries... (0+ / 0-)

    ..but, I guess that's the trend.

  •  Sorry for my ignorance (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Reepicheep, BigD145

    But when someone takes maternity leave in the US, can they receive unemployment benefits for that leave. I know here, in Canada, we get unemployment for maternity (used to be 15 weeks, not sure if longer now or not) and many unionized places top that up for the leave as well.

    "Another world is possible, she is on her way. On a quiet day, I can hear her breathing." Arundhati Roy

    by jazzizbest on Wed Jun 18, 2014 at 08:29:56 PM PDT

    •  No. In the US you can't collect (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      jazzizbest, BigD145

      unemployment unless you leave your job, and then only if you were laid off or fired.  If you got fired for bad behavior (stealing from petty cash, or, if you are in a "Right to Work" state, looking at the boss in a funny way) you may not be able to collect unemployment insurance.  

      "YOPP!" --Horton Hears a Who

      by Reepicheep on Wed Jun 18, 2014 at 08:53:15 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Maternity is voluntary (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        jazzizbest, Reepicheep

        , like quiting a job, so unemployment would likely not kick in anyway without some major law rewriting.

        •  jeebus! (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          what a bloody shame to say the least

          "Another world is possible, she is on her way. On a quiet day, I can hear her breathing." Arundhati Roy

          by jazzizbest on Thu Jun 19, 2014 at 07:47:15 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  When looking at the US (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Reepicheep, jazzizbest

            just assume the worst. You'll always be pleasantly surprised when you see something good and just. It's too bad that won't happen often.

            Companies will very specifically target employees and encourage them (short hours, no hours, seemingly random schedules, impossible workloads) to quit instead of firing them. There are no "wrongful termination" lawsuits if you quit. The managers play from the same book and will turn right around and say how disappointed they are in that quitting employee. Pregnant women go through this all the time. They are pushed out AND shamed for quitting. It's Manager 101 in America.

  •  I had a high risk pregnancy in 1998 (0+ / 0-)

    and corresponded with women all over the world who were in a similar situation. I learned that even then, after some bitter war in the region, Croatia had a better family and maternity leave policy than my own "exceptional" country.

    You can put your shoes in the oven, but it won't make them biscuits.

    by quetzalmom on Wed Jun 18, 2014 at 09:28:00 PM PDT

  •  When my husband tried to get FMLA to help (0+ / 0-)

    me when I was diagnosed with colon cancer his employer sent us a letter telling him he had been granted FMLA leave.  But when he actually tried to take a day of leave the computer informed him it wasn't allowed.  We have submitted the paperwork over and over again and they simply will NOT give it to him.

    It is a Federal law and he is in a union but they will not let him have it.

    I guess it is an example of American exceptionalism.

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