Mamas on Bedrest: Who is working for Paid Sick Leave

August 12th, 2012

I love getting e-mails from mamas, telling me about their experiences and sharing support and tips. But it always breaks my heart when I receive a letter like the one below. This mama, pregnant with twin boys, should be filled with joy and resting comfortably as she awaits the births of her sons. Instead, she is plagued with worry over her job and how she and her husband will make ends meet. She asked that I share her story so that mamas can be aware and know that they are not alone should their situations mimic hers. She is also asking for support and to learn more about what is being done so that working parents won’t have to choose between their jobs and having the families they so desire. Here is Jill’s story in her own words.

I am so glad I found your website! I am currently 6 months pregnant with twin boys. My husband and I found out I was pregnant two weeks before our wedding-quite a surprise, but a happy one. From the start, it was not an easy time. I suffered from debilitating morning sickness that lasted all day and quickly ate through my sick time.

I had severe bleeding issues that also kept me out. Knowing that as my pregnancy progressed I might run into more issues, I spoke with my boss, who assured me that other employees had been allowed to work from home when faced with a difficult pregnancy. I felt reassured by this information, although I hoped the worst was behind me.

Of course the babies had other ideas. This last week, I had violent vomiting and dizzy spells. My blood pressure rose and dropped. My doctor ordered I.V. fluids and modified bed rest. I called my human resources department who could not give me any real answers. I called my boss who informed me that a temp would be have to be found to fill my position and that working from home would not be a solution as it had not been successful in the past. Furthermore, there were too many projects going on and they would need to have all hands on deck. “I’m not telling you this to feel badly”, she finished.

Too late.

While I do have 13 weeks of short term disability (at 66% of my usual pay) I really wanted to be able to use all of that for my maternity leave. I feel misled by my employer and that I have committed career suicide by getting pregnant. I am anxious and depressed. I don’t have the option of leaving work- our rent depends on my salary.

I started to wonder what organizations were out there as I imagined this could not be an isolated event. I already knew that the United States has no universal coverage that truly supports all women during pregnancy and maternity leave. I wanted to share my experience- although I know there are families out there in a worse position- and learn more about ways I could help implement change. Thankfully I am only on bed rest for one week but anything can happen in the next three months. None of us should have to choose between our babies and our job.

Jill
Jill,

There are several organizations working tirelessly to end this untenable choice that far too many families are forced to make. The first that comes to mind is the National Partnership for Women and Families (NPWF).  The National Partnership is a leader of the Healthy Families Act Coalition, which advocates for passage of a national paid sick days standard through public education, mobilization and advocacy in order to secure paid sick days for tens of millions of Americans.

Another advocacy group is MomsRising. MomsRising is a network of people just like you, united by the goal of building a more family-friendly America. They work with various public health and policy organizations to make raise awareness of issues that affect women, children and families. You can view advocacy work for families by visiting their website and looking under the M-O-T-H-E-R-S button which stands for their major activities:

Maternity/Paternity Leave

Open/Flexible Work

Toxic Free Families

Health Care for All

Early Care and Education

Realistic and Fair Wages

Sick Days, Paid

Another advocate for paid family leave is Working Mother Magazine. Working Mother is working with NPWF to gain passage of a national law providing paid family leave. They are on the forefront advocating for equal pay for equal work and paid family leave.

Finally, MotherWoman is a non-profit organization in Massachusetts working to not only provide support to moms battling post partum depression, but also moms who are suffering economic hardship and personal hardship as a result. Their mission:

MotherWoman supports and empowers mothers to create positive personal and
social change for ourselves, our families, our communities and the world.

These are but a few of the organizations working tirelessly to help working mothers and working families not be financially penalized because of illness. I am sure that there are numerous other organizations out there fighting the good fight, but these are a few of the larger, more active and/or more vocal organizations of which I know. Again, this is not an exhaustive list, just those that I know of first hand.

We hope that this helps you Jill, and any other mama looking to find out how to become involved in the paid family leave battle.  And it is a battle. Many in congress don’t believe in paid family leave and are doing all that they can to block the efforts of groups advocating for paid leave. Get involved and if there are other organizations out there, please share your information at info@mamasonbedrest.com and how we can support you!

3 responses to “Mamas on Bedrest: Who is working for Paid Sick Leave”

  1. Darlene – Anyone wanting to get involved and change the laws in their state should also contact Family Values @Work to find out what local groups are doing to win paid sick days and expand family leave rights to all workers:

    http://familyvaluesatwork.org/

  2. Darline says:

    Thanks Jenya. So ladies, if you want to become more involved in the paid family leave movement in your area, Check out Family Values at Work and look for your local chapter/group.

  3. Hi there friends, its wonderful article on the topic
    of cultureand entirely defined, keep it up all the time.

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