Paid family and medical leave (PFML) policies provide workers with partial wage replacement so they can afford to take time to care for and bond with a new child; care for a family member, or recover from their own serious health condition. Today, 33 million workers lack access to this benefit because, without a federal guarantee, policies vary across states and limit eligibility. People with low incomes are least likely to have access to paid leave; ongoing racial and economic inequality means communities of color are most harmed.

Nine states and the District of Columbia have now passed their own…

By Staci Lowry

As a Black woman living in America, I have felt undervalued, unappreciated, unheard and unseen more times than I can count. I, like many Black women in this country, continue to show up as caregiver, leader, moderator and beacon in hostile environments. We continue standing on the frontlines of dismantling oppression, racism, inequality, and a plethora of other foundational plagues only to keep being disenfranchised by those same systems. I’m not sure if it is simply by circumstance or divine intervention, but Black women are the glue that holds this tattered and unhinged country together by its…

Alexis Jackson, pictured above with her family

by Alexis Jackson, Development Manager at FV@W

At the start of the pandemic, I was five months pregnant with a husband, an 8-year-old whose school was closing, a full-time job - and a bad case of COVID. In the months that followed, I moved from Illinois to Georgia where I gave birth and developed postpartum preeclampsia. The fact that I survived all this in good physical, emotional and financial shape owes a lot to my family, but also to my job at Family Values @ Work (FV@W). FV@W organizes for time to care for everyone in the U.S. …

Dr. Charmaine Lang

One of the limiting beliefs that I challenge in my activism and scholarly work is that Black women are a monolith: workers, caregivers, not much more. But through reading the work of Zora Neale Hurston, Patricia Hill Collins, Barbara Christian, and other Black feminist scholars, I know that belief is a racist, sexist lie rooted in the enslavement of African people. Black women have been controlled with stereotypes ranging from the asexual mammy to the hyper-sexualized Jezebel. These stereotypes serve to control Black women and justify the ways we are oppressed.

In reality, Black women are dynamic beings: We are…

Working woman working from home. CC: Serhii Shunevych

The pandemic was a giant wake-up call for the nation about the centrality of care. We saw how interdependent we are: Our own health depends on the ability of everyone around us to stay healthy. We saw that, without warning, any one of us could need to give or receive care. Yet for the majority of U.S. employees, doing just that could cost a paycheck or a job.

Responding to this reality, and to growing support and demand for a solution, the Biden-Harris administration is highlighting paid family and medical leave as an essential part of their infrastructure plan. An…

Photo © Michael Bonner/The Standard-Times/SCMG

by Bethany Santos Fauteux

I am a state certified early childhood educator and worked for a childcare center that did not provide paid leave. Most do not.

In August of 2013 I gave birth to my second child. In order to keep a roof over our heads, I had to return to work after three weeks. As I sat on the floor taking care of other mothers’ children, the pain of my c-section stitches didn’t compare to the pain of not being with my own brand new baby.

Early childhood programs give kids the basis of everything they need for…

Photo courtesy of Zero Weeks

To mark the 50th “Week of the Young Child” hosted by the National Association for the Education of Young Children, we talked to Gladys Jones, a childcare provider, about how the pandemic has impacted her industry, and the role paid leave plays in her business.

Offering paid leave to her employees was a no-brainer for Gladys Jones. Gladys is the owner and operator of GA GA Group Family Daycare LLC, a home-based early childhood education center located in Staten Island, New York.

“[Staff] need time for their families [and] themselves,” Gladys said of her decision to offer paid leave. “It’s…

by Carol Joyner

Photo: AFL-CIO

Sanchioni Butler remembers trying to unionize workers four years ago at a Nissan plant in Canton, Mississippi, as a union rep for the UAW. After Nissan engaged in a massive union-busting effort, the union lost the vote. Butler is now one of millions of Americans who are supporting the Protecting the Right to Organize (PRO) Act, legislation that recently passed out of the House of Representatives — with 5 Republicans joining in support — that would clear some big hurdles for private sector workers to stand with their co-workers and vote for union representation. …

The recent severe storm in Texas left families shivering in their homes with no heat, no running water, and limited access to basic essentials. They are workers like Fidel Guzman in Austin, who survived off instant soups, stored ice from outside in his bathtub and boiled it to have water. In a YouTube video posted by Workers Defense Project (WDP), Guzman, an active WDP member, said the state’s leaders “failed us, left us alone.”

The failure lies not just in the abandonment of those hit hardest by the storm, but in a long history of state leaders cozying up to…

By Safiya Simmons

I remember when my grandmother got so sick that it was beyond what love could manage and my father made the difficult decision to put her into a nursing home. I heard a lot of conversation around which home to put her in. The nicer, predominantly white nursing homes weren’t in the city limits and were so expensive, they weren’t really contenders. But there were many others in the inner city; ones that had not so great reviews and that smelled of cheap disinfectant and despair. This is my earliest memory of understanding the types of health…

Family Values @ Work

27 state coalitions working to win for Paid Sick Days, Paid Leave and other policies that value families at work in your city, county and state, then nation.

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