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Policy Update: February 13, 2015

BC Logo_SquareA quick look back at events this week impacting women and families, from Valerie Young, a public policy analyst with Mom-mentum.

Senator Patty Murray and Representative Rosa DeLauro introduced the paid sick days bill, the Healthy Families Act, again this week.  If enacted, the bill would provide employees at workplaces with at least 15 workers 7 earned sick days per year, for their own illness or to care for a sick family member.  Smaller businesses would be required to grant workers 7 days of unpaid sick leave.  Currently, 43 million US workers have no access to a single paid sick day.  More than a “woman’s issue”, earned sick leave is a matter of public health, family economic security, and employment policy.  Here’s a fact sheet with greater detail.

Following the President’s call for paid family leave, including maternity and paternity leave, articles have been zipping around the ether about how it would serve new parents, newly born and adopted children, bolster business and grow the economy.  A recent favorite is a Raw Story piece about our disconnect between “family values” and our woeful public policies.  Noteworthy is the fact that every other industrialized country has already implemented paid parental leave.  Why not the US?  Because the vast majority of our lawmakers are white males who have never served as family caregivers, which leads to the next item….

There are just too few women in Congress, especially the current Congress which began its work last month.  According to Quartz:  “Instead, the US ranks 75th in the world in women’s representation. Standing alone, US Democratic women would be ranked 27th in the world, similar to countries such as Austria and Germany. Conversely, Republican women’s representation, which is currently 11% of Republican seats, would hold a ranking of 116th in the world, alongside countries like India and Jordan.”  More women in politics means better public policy.

Do you think childcare and early education matters are personal issues, with implications only for the family?  There’s more to consider, as data establishes that how and with whom a child spends time in the earliest years will make a difference in the family’s economic security for decades to come, and the child’s educational achievement, income and health.  Childcare is actually a multi-generational economic issue, according to Catherine Rampell in this Washington Post op-ed

Follow Valerie on Facebook (Your (Wo)Man in Washington) and Twitter (@WomanInDC) and find her on the blog at Mom-mentum.


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