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Sunday Night News Update: July 27, 2014

BC Logo_SquareWelcome to Brain, Child’s Sunday night news update where we look at policy issues impacting women and children with Valerie Young of the National Association of Mothers’ Centers.

With Congress half out the door on the way to their August vacation,  two bills were dropped in the hopper that could  make life better for moms.  The Schedules That Work Act would require employers of part-time workers to give more notice of shift schedules and assignments so that workers could plan accordingly.  Much of the part-time workforce is mothers, as noted by Senator Elizabeth Warren in this article from The Guardian:  “A single mom working two jobs should know if her hours are being canceled before she arranges for daycare and drives halfway across town to show up at work…This is about some basic fairness in work scheduling so that both employees and employers have more certainty and can get the job done.”  Amen, sister!

Senator Deb Fischer of Nebraska and Senator Angus King of Maine get a cheer for  introducing a bill that would give a tax credit to employers offering at least four weeks of paid family leave.  It’s called the Strong Families Act, and will likely go nowhere with the recess coming up and the mid-term elections getting all the attention once our do-nothing Congress reconvenes in September.  But it is an effort to deal with the fact that ONLY the US has no guaranteed paid time off for maternity or paternity leave.  In the 21st century.  With women half the labor force.  Sheesh.

Most states have some sort of laws on the books protecting pregnant or breastfeeding workers.  Does yours?  Here is a handy resource from your friends US Department of Labor.  Just click on your state on the map and see what rights you have.  Pregnancy discrimination runs rampant, and employers often fail to provide new moms what’s required, because we aren’t aware of and don’t ask for what the law allows.  Don’t suffer endlessly. Know your rights.

Some parting thoughts on issues that often concern women with children who work – How do I tell my boss I’m Pregnant?  Not an endorsement, just one person’s experience, from GoGirl Finance, as well as a series of articles on negotiating your salary, and three important tips to keep in mind when discussing your worth, from the same site.

Valerie Young writes about news at the intersection of motherhood and public policy. Follow her on Facebook at Your (Wo)Man in Washington, and on Twitter @WomanInDC, and find a weekly blog post at


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