Workplace Policies for Super Busy Parents

Just this week, a new study came out with Harvard and McGill University researchers saying that “workplace policies for families in the United States are weaker than those of all high-income countries and many middle- and low-income countries.” In a related article in USA Today, it was reported that the US lags the rest of the world in government support for family oriented work policies.

“More countries are providing the workplace protections that millions of Americans can only dream of,” said the study’s lead author, Jody Heymann, founder of the Harvard-based Project on Global Working Families and director of McGill’s Institute for Health and Social Policy.

Among the study’s findings:
* The U.S. is one of only five countries out of 173 in the survey that does not guarantee some form of paid maternity leave; the others are Lesotho, Liberia, Swaziland and Papua New Guinea.
* Fathers get paid paternity leave or paid parental leave in 65 countries, including 31 offering at least 14 weeks of paid leave. The U.S.: none.
* At least 107 countries protect working women’s right to breast-feed; the breaks are paid in at least 73 of them. The U.S.: no federal legislation guaranteeing the right to breast-feed at work.
* At least 145 countries provide paid sick days, with 127 providing a week or more annually. The U.S. provides unpaid leave through the Family and Medical Leave Act, which does not cover all workers; there is no federal law providing for paid sick * * At least 126 countries have laws mandating that employers give workers a day of rest each week. The U.S. does not have a maximum work week length or a limit on mandatory overtime per week.

Truth is, the US leaves it up to companies to decide what kinds of benefits, including family-oriented ones, to offer to workers. The belief is that in a free market, if perks like these are really desired by enough workers then companies will offer them.

Many big companies in the US offer lots of family-friendly benefits, but this study shows that in the aggregate we lag way behind the rest of the world.

It’s time for American companies to step up!

About The PriorityPro
Natalie Gahrmann, an international expert, empowers professional women to ignite their passion, demonstrate personal leadership and exude greater confidence. Her background in business acumen and leadership development is instinctively applied through 1-1 coaching, workshops and keynote presentations. She can help you gain clarity, focus and direction so that you accomplish more of what's important to YOU!

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