Paid Leave Is Going to Matter in 2016, Thanks to John Oliver and Hillary Clinton

May 11, 2015 | | New Republic |
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It is a scandal that, in a nation where family values feature so prominently in political discourse, there is barely a shred of protection for working women who give birth. Worse, even the weak provision of twelve weeks unpaid leave doesn’t extend to some women, as Demos senior fellow Caroline Fredrickson points out in her new book Under the Bus: How Working Women are Being Run Over. Women who work part-time, for small businesses, and immigrant women often in domestic work are left out of our leave mandates. Unfortunately, the women who happen to be excluded from these protections also happen to be the poorest workers, a reality that leads to dire conclusions: “[I]n almost 9 percent of cases where [families] go under the poverty line, the precipitating factor was the birth of a child,” Fredrickson notes, “and nearly 25 percent of these families succumb to poverty in thirty days when they are dependent on the earnings of a single mother.” Fredrickson also reports that a study of 1,700 bankruptcy cases conducted by Human Rights Watch found that 7 percent of debtors identified the birth of a child as their reason for going bankrupt.
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