Work Life Balance

6 Weeks Paid Family Leave in 2018 Federal Budget Proposal!

May 25th, 2017

President Donald Trump has proposed that employees be granted 6 weeks paid family leave for the birth of a child (each for mothers and fathers!) or the adoption of a child. Under the proposed plan, states would be required to provide leave payments through existing unemployment insurance programs or would have to identify cuts or tax hikes, as needed, to cover the costs.

Now as most of you know, paid family leave is something that I have advocated for since the beginning of Mamas on Bedrest & Beyond in 2009. Currently the United States is one of 4 nations that doesn’t offer paid leave; Lesotho, Swaziland and Papau New Guinea are the other nations. Instead, we have the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) which entitles workers to 12 weeks of unpaid leave with guarantee of their job in order to care for a new baby, ill family member or themselves if they’ve worked for their employer for a year. However, this particular law has a slew of loopholes, not the least of which is that if a company is small, i.e. less than 50 members, the employer doesn’t have to abide by FMLA and if an employee is absent too much, the employer can fire them.

Paid medical leave is long overdue, but given our current administration, I am guardedly optimistic. The Republican party has long been against any sort of government intervention as it pertains to family and social services and this current administration is doing all that it can to dismantle many of our social safety net programs. So while I am excited to see families may finally be able to spend time with their new children or to take time to address pressing health issues, I’m skeptical that it’s really going to happen.

What concerns me about this proposal is that it hasn’t been clearly thought out by the administration. It’s a great eye catcher and liberals like me get all pumped-until we actually take a hard look at the proposal. There is not clear cut way to fund this proposal or a way to enforce it. Making states fund paid family leave, how will that work? What will be the repercussions if states don’t fund paid leave?  Historically, when states have been given the latitude to “govern” as they see fit, what often happens is that laws don’t take effect. A perfect example of this has been the Affordable Care Act. States were given the ability to “govern” as they saw fit and many states filed lawsuits against the bill, failed to accept allotted funds (Texas!!), didn’t expand Medicaid, and many insurers simply pulled out of the marketplace all together leaving those (of us) in the system with very few (affordable) health insurance options. Leaving paid family leave up to the states will again result in states with a high degree of social consciousness to implement a programs, and the rest will just simply let the legislation sit on someone’s desk and gather dust while it is “discussed” in legislative committees. Sadly, in many cases, those needing the provision of the proposal won’t get what they need.

Now we know that paid leave can be done. Currently California, Rhode Island, Washington, New Jersey, New York and the District of Columbia have paid family leave programs. These states and municipalities have made the commitment to their constituents and have found the way to fund paid leave-even when the federal government said “No”. One would think that the federal government would have looked at these programs and crafted a national program, or even recommended that representatives from these states help other states get their programs up and running. No. Nope. Nothing. Zip. Nada.

So once again, there has been a grand declaration that supporters are hailing as progress, and presidential supporters are saying that the president has kept his campaign promise. Supporters are also giving credit for the legislation to First Daughter Ivanks Trump for encouraging her father to craft such a proposal. But those of us who have been advocating for this legislation for years know the devil is in the details. Without a clear mandate, without a clear means of implementation and without funding, this proposal simply isn’t going to happen. I most certainly hope that I am wrong because paid family leave is very much needed in this country. But until I see a concrete plan of how paid leave is going to work, how each state will develop and implement their individual programs, how states will be held accountable for developing and implementing the programs, how the programs will be funded and how accessible the programs will be to ALL citizens, I will be holding off on the victory champagne and streamers .

How do you feel about paid medical leave? Have you used FMLA? How did it work for you? Please share your experiences in the comments section below.

References:

US Department of Labor

MomsRising.org

Healthcare.gov

 

Mamas on Bedrest: Raise your child and your business!

May 28th, 2014

Happy Wednesday, Mamas!!

In this video blog, I am pleased to share with you a new program being offered by my business coach, Diane Carroll, owner and founder of Maverick Center. Diane is passionate about creating work that you love and that serves you, your family, the world and brings in an abundant income. Diane is offering a coaching program to mothers who want to work from home in order to raise their children. With first hand experience in this work format-As well as with the Maverick Center-I wholeheartedly recommend this program if it speaks to you.

Mamas on Bedrest: From Bump to Birth-10 Tips for Maternity Leave

December 6th, 2013

Family on ComputerI am totally dismayed by the fact that the United States is the only industrialized nation and one of only 3 nations globally that don’t offer any sort of mandatory paid maternity/paternity leave. I believe that it is a HUGE detriment to our workforce, especially now since approximately 51% of the workforce is women. Because of US employment policies, many women are forced to choose between career and family, i.e “career track” and “mommy track”. Likewise, many men miss out on the joys of family and parenting as they work diligently to support their families if and/or when their wives become pregnant and are home caring for the children. Families should be allowed more flexibility and balance, and unfortunately this just isn’t the case.

As many Mamas on Bedrest know, unexpected complications during pregnancy can further throw off family financial balance. If a woman is the principle wage earner and has to be out of work for weeks to months due to bed rest, the impact to the family’s financial security can be devastating. The family will not only be impacted financially on the day to day level, but may also be at risk of losing precious health care benefits at a time when they are needed most. Today, Eric Adamowsky, co-founder of CreditCardInsider.com shares with us 10 Tips for Maternity Leave. They surveyed working mamas and asked them what they thought the most important tips are to note regarding maternity leave. This is what Mamas shared with them, and they graciously shared this information with us. Thanks so much Eric! Mamas, take note. There is some really good info here!!

 

While our biggest focus at Credit Card Insider is providing information about the responsible use of credit and credit cards, we’re always looking for ways to help people manage their finances in all areas of life, and especially at different major life stages. For this post, we asked for maternity leave advice from experienced moms in the workforce and discovered ten key themes.

1. Communicate with your employer
2. Be professional
3. Prepare – physically, emotionally, financially
4. Pre-plan a few meals
5. Cherish and maximize your time with baby
6. Give yourself a break
7. Accept help
8. Learn to be the baby’s mom
9. Include dad in the plan
10. Pace your transition back to work

If you notice overlap in the themes, such as a consistent message to take as much time off as you can, pay attention.

Communicate with your employer

No one will plan your maternity leave for you. It’s up to you to research any benefits and how to get them. Don’t be afraid to take full advantage of any maternity leave benefits available to you. If your maternity leave is unpaid, you could be eligible for paid family leave benefits from the state. Call your state’s unemployment/disability office for more information.

Prepare – physically, emotionally, and financially

Realize that everything is about to change – your body, your feelings, your schedule, your budget. Plan as well as you can. Be kind to your body. Producing a little human is no small job. Play with the idea that you might want to take an extended absence from work. Your career will always be there, but your child wants and needs your time and attention now. So think now – before the baby comes – about money. Don’t chant the “everything will work out” mantra. To get what you want, a solid financial plan will be a thousand times more effective than a wish and a prayer.

Pre-plan a few meals

You’ll hear from practically every new parent that once the baby is born, your day will revolve around meeting baby’s needs and not much else. You’ll be tired, possibly overwhelmed, and very short on time to handle previously mundane tasks like shopping and cooking. The most organized new parents think ahead to prepare meals (or at least key ingredients, like meat) that can later be heated, requiring no preparation whatsoever.

Cherish and maximize your time with baby

Studies show that most new moms don’t want to return to full time work after the birth of a baby. Even if you love your job or you don’t think you can live without the income, consider the possibility that you’ll fall into that category and plan for it as well as you can. Maximize your time off. Once you go back to work, find out if you can work from home or ease back part-time. While you’re off, enjoy the time with your new child.

Give yourself a break

Don’t expect to be a “natural” or to take it all in stride, no matter how much experience you have with other peoples’ children. It’s easy to become overwhelmed, and when it’s just mom, dad and baby, the answers don’t always present themselves clearly. In days gone by, extended families lived together and there were older generations around to teach new moms what to do. These days, you might not have that advantage. So cut yourself some slack for any doubts, lack of confidence or unrealistic expectations you may have.

Accept help

When friends and family offer to help, let them. It may seem like a big imposition to ask your mother-in-law or surfing buddy to do your shopping, but if the offer is made, accept it gratefully. Running errands, cooking meals, cleaning the house, and walking a fussy baby are all great tasks to assign to caring people in your inner circle during the first few weeks of your little one’s life. Outside the home, get connected with a lactation support group nearby so that you’ll know where to go if any challenges arise.

Learn to be the baby’s mom

You might slip into your new role with ease… and you might not. Give yourself time to get used to the new routine. Relax and stay in the moment.

Include dad in the plan

You’re in this together. Encourage dad to be an active participant and to bond with baby. Like mom, dad should be unafraid to take the maximum amount of family leave available. Some men feel awkward around the baby, not knowing what to do or how they can help. Comfort will only come with practice. Also, men tend to feel much less free to take extended absences from work, and far more pressure to put the hours in. Each new dad has to set his own priorities, but more and more men are choosing to put family at the top of the list

Pace your transition back to work

Whether you must return to work or just want to, pace the transition. Spend the first two weeks in the daycare setting with your baby, to show that it is a safe, comfortable place that the baby can still associate with mom.  If possible, go back to work part-time and ease into your full-time schedule over time.

And don’t underestimate the amount of time you’ll want to take off!

 

Thanks so much to Eric Adamowsky, Co-founder of CreditCardInsider.com for this post. Mamas, what has worked for you financially balancing bed rest/maternity leave and finances? Please share your tips in the comments section below.