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Policy Update: May 15, 2015

mission possible

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

The watchword on Capitol Hill this week is #MissionPossible.  Over two dozen advocacy groups gathered behind Rep. Nancy Pelosi and other family champions in support of essential policy updates like paid family leave, earned sick days, equal pay and protections for pregnant workers.   Rep. Rosa DeLauro encouraged putting pressure on Congress to act on the issues that keep working families from reaching economic security, including affordable child care.  If voters don’t insist, it will never happen, she says.

Speaking of child care, increasing enrollment for pre-K programs is happening at a glacial pace.  The National Institute for Early Education Research reported this week that “At the 2013-2014 growth rate it would take 75 years for states to reach 50 percent enrollment at age four and 150 years to reach 70 percent enrollment.”  While middle class families struggle with escalating costs, the majority of low income children aren’t enrolled because of lack of public funding, even when eligible.  Considering how everyone will depend, sooner or later, on tomorrow’s adults, inadequate child care policy is a national problem.

As Congress fails to deliver, some private companies are moving ahead.  Facebook announced this week that it will require its contract workers to receive $4000 for paid parental leave, 15 days paid leave and a minimum wage of $15 per hour.

According to the San Jose Mercury News “Facebook’s changes have been in the works for a while and were enacted for its biggest group of suppliers at its Menlo Park headquarters on May 1. They are perhaps the most sweeping to date, addressing pay, time off and how new parents, men and women, are treated. The new policies apply to Facebook vendors that have 25 or more workers at the social networking firm. Facebook said it will cover the increased costs to these contractors.”

The number of home births is up, and Maryland has changed its law to allow home births with midwives attending.  Formerly, the midwife was required to be a registered nurse, as in 5 other states.  So far 28 states have made it possible for licensed certified midwives to handle births at home.

And to go out on a  high note, comedian John Oliver delivered the best argument for paid maternity leave ever in this hilarious video for Mother’s Day.  “You deserve the best Mom.  But you’re not going to get it.”

Here’s the youtube link so you can put the picture of the video right here and it will start with a click!!;

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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