[Parentsgroup-list] maternity/paternity paid leave petition (fwd)

Christine Dianne Wenc wenc at fas.harvard.edu
Thu Jun 1 18:47:11 EDT 2006

I usually feel that online petitions are a way to feel you've done
something without actually doing anything, but thought I'd pass this
along anyway.  It IS pretty ridiculous that the US has no national form of
paid parental leave, considering that basically all other industrialized
societies do have such leaves.  (It often works like unemployment
insurance does here, and how much you get depends on how long you've been
in the work force.)

In Canada you get a YEAR of paid leave.  Plus $5/day child care if you go
back to work.

MA may soon have the best parental/caregiver leave system in the country
soon, however, if the legislation passes.  (I believe they are proposing
an extremely radical 12 whole weeks of paid leave when a baby is born.)

I did bring this up when I met
with the interim president of Harvard--will grad student parents, most
likely mothers, be the only workers who do not get paid leave?  It's not a
ridiculous idea--Princeton, although it has no other form of assistance
for grad parents, does allow paid leave if you're a TF for the birth of a
child.  Of course, I think you also get kicked out of Princeton grad
family housing if you go on leave beyond the end of the term, so perhaps this isn't as
generous as it sounds.

anyway, here is today's form of online activism...I'm in a crabby mood
today, can you tell?


---------- Forwarded message ----------

Dear MomsRising member:

Hello. Hope you had a terrific, long weekend. Here's a quick True/False quiz for you: The United States is one
of only four, out of 168 countries, to not have any national form of paid leave for new moms. True or False?
(No fair peeking at the answer below before guessing!).

Last week we posted chapter "M" about Maternity/Paternity Leave online. This week, as promised, we're sending
you a way to take action on the issue.

Just go to: http://www.momsrising.org/petition/familyfriendly

This petition supports a bill, titled The Balancing Act, which includes paid leave for all new parents. The
bill was introduced by U.S. Rep. Woolsey, who once was a single mother of three young children herself.

Frankly, your support (and support from all of your friends too) is really needed to start building momentum
behind this important issue because paid family leave has been stalled for decades. Did you know that right
now, without paid family leave, having a baby is actually a leading cause of falling into a "poverty spell" in
our country--a time when income is lower than what's needed to meet basic needs? And also that paid family
leave has been shown to significantly reduce infant mortality?

As one MomsRising member posted on our online forum, "...it is an agonizing situation to decide between being
with a new baby and surviving financially. This type of dilemma does not remotely fit into the often-used
phrase of 'family values.'"

It's time for our policies and programs to catch up with our modern economy. These days most families need two
working parents to stay afloat. In fact, nearly three-quarters of moms are in the labor force. Paid family
leave is just plain common-sense policy.

Sign the petition at: http://www.momsrising.org/petition/familyfriendly

*And, then please tell your friends to take action as well by forwarding this e-mail to them so others can
sign the petition as well. The more, the merrier!

- Joan, Kristin, and Catherine

POP QUIZ ANSWER KEY: True, the United States is one of only four out of 168 countries studied to not have some
form of paid family leave for new moms. We join Swaziland, Papua New Guinea, and Lesotho in not having that
policy in place.

Source: Heymann et al., The Work, Family, and Equity Index: Where Does the United States Stand Globally?
(Boston: Project on Global Working Families, 2004), www.hsph.harvard.edu/globalworkingfamilies/images/report.pdf.

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