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…


Illustration by Arielle Gray/WBUR

Previously published at familyvaluesatwork.org, February 27, 2020

As we close out Black History Month, I’ve been thinking a lot about the mantle of caregiving Black Americans took on during their time of enslavement and how that legacy still impacts society today. The chronic undervaluing of caregiving, rooted in the stolen labor of enslaved women, fuels our fight for paid leave and other workplace policies.

Africans’ responsibility for caregiving began early in their forced labor in the United States. As their own families were torn apart, enslaved women were tasked with feeding and caring for the children of slave masters. …


The COVID-19 pandemic is a study in impossible choices: Get tested and be forced to stay home from work without pay if your COVID test is positive? Go to work sick and risk your health and that of your coworkers? Take time away from a paying job to supervise a child’s virtual education while school buildings are closed?

The painful economic and health choices that have been forced on working people all have the same root: a lack of financial support for our urgent caregiving needs, whether for ourselves or our loved ones, because the United States remains one of…


As we take time this month to focus in on Black history, let us acknowledge a reality that is often overlooked in Black communities: Black workers need paid leave.

Here’s the reality: nearly 40% of Black workers do not have access to paid sick days (PSD). This means at least 40% of Black workers worry about losing their pay or job when they or a loved one are sick and need time to care. Because we know workers without paid sick days are less likely to go to the doctor or access preventive care, think of the impact on African…


New Wisconsin Study Affirms Importance of Public Policies

COVID-19 continues to devastate Wisconsin and the country — but it didn’t have to be this way.

Twelve and a half years ago, 9to5, Voces de la Frontera, and dozens of other groups organized a ballot initiative to win paid sick days in Milwaukee. They won with nearly 70 percent of the vote, and won again in court when corporate lobbies sued, only to have their win stolen by a hostile Wisconsin legislature.

But even then, those groups — and workers across the country — knew what this pandemic spotlights: As Chineva…

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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