Policy Update: January 30, 2015

Policy Update: January 30, 2015

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

We’re still feeling the lift from the President’s mention of the critical need for pro-family policies in the State of the Union Address.  Advocates are working harder than ever to push Congress towards paid leave, and a bill has been introduced to secure 6 weeks of paid parental leave to federal employees to make permanent the recent executive order which only lasts as long as this Presidency.  It will still be a long slog, so for good news I look further afield.

Tacoma, Washington is the latest locality to pass an earned sick days bill.  Splitting 8 to 1, the city council passed a bill offering 3 days of paid leave in the employee’s first year and 5 days in the 2nd.  The leave may also be used in cases of stalking or domestic violence.  Three states have enacted paid sick days laws (Connecticut, California, and Massachusetts), and 16 cities have followed suit.  Even so, about 40% of workers put their jobs on the line if they stay home with the flu or take a sick child to the doctor.

The World Health Organization has released a report stating that breastfeeding benefits the health of mother and child while it occurs, and benefits for the child for many years after in both health and cognitive function.  Ironically, without paid maternity leave for every mother, millions of us will never reach the 1 year breastfeeding mark set by the American Academy of Pediatrics.  Even with legal protections in the Affordable Care Act and some state laws, the benefits to employers of a good lactation set up are being ignored, according to  The Horrors Of Pumping Breast Milk At Work (And Why Employers Should Care)

Ever wonder if you’re doing the right things as a parent?  You don’t have to be perfect; just work in these daily family routines, from the experts at the Council on Contemporary Families, relying on data from the US Census Bureau.

A Swedish photographer is directing his lens to dads on paternity leave.  While Sweden prioritizes parental time with newborns in its public policies, there’s great variation in who uses it and for how long.  By law, parents of a newly born or adopted child have up to 480 days of leave.  And it’s paid.

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