Which states support working families the best?

The National Partnership for Women and Families graded states on laws that support families, and overall the United States is not looking good.

Only two states were awarded an A and much of the South got Fs.

From MotherJones.com:

“The National Partnership for Women & Families released a new report that assigns grades to states based on their laws protecting new parents, like paid parental leave, paid sick days, and laws to accommodate breastfeeding mothers. While many of these laws benefit both moms and dads, they’re certainly more important for women, since we actually have to give birth and all.”

“Only two states–California and Connecticut—got an “A.” Eighteen states got a big old “F” for doing nothing help new, working parents. This is the first time the group has scored states like this, and the overall grade for the US is pretty grim:”

Click here to see the map and how all the state were rated.

The foundation also released a full report if you are interested in more information on these issues. The first report was issued in 2005 and the agency feels like there has been some progress.

“Since the first edition of Expecting Better, workers in some states have gained new rights that address the work and family challenges faced by new parents. For example:

* In 2011, Connecticut became the first state to pass a paid sick days law, joining the District of Columbia, in

providing many workers the right to earn paid sick time that can be used to care for an ill child or family

member or to seek medical care. Two cities — San Francisco and Seattle — also provide this right;

* In 2008, New Jersey joined California in establishing a paid family leave insurance program that provides new

parents (and other family caregivers) with partial wage replacement during up to six weeks of family leave.

* In 2007, the state of Washington took a significant step toward establishing a paid parental leave program.

* In 2007, Maine expanded workers’ ability to take unpaid, job-protected family leave by recognizing that

domestic or civil union partners often need to care for each other and each other’s children.

* And, from 2006 through 2009, nine states granted new rights to nursing mothers in the workplace.

At the federal level, workers have also gained new family friendly rights. Many nursing mothers are now guaranteed reasonable break time and a private place to express breast milk while at work, thanks to a provision in the 2010 health care reform law that amended the Fair Labor Standards Act. Expansions of the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) in 2008 and 2009 provided new leave rights to military families. And a new 2010 interpretation of the FMLA extends unpaid, job-protected leave to a broader range of adults caring for new or ill children.

These are important victories, but more significant progress toward securing a family friendly nation remains elusive. The nation’s political debates too often continue to reflect a false dichotomy about work and family, promoting a narrative that suggests families have all adults in the labor force by choice rather than by economic necessity. And too few public officials recognize that public policies must reflect the new realities of a workforce made up of workers — women and men — with significant child and elder care responsibilities. It is imperative that our nation’s leaders and our public policies acknowledge that workers’ economic security — and their ability to provide for their families — often hinges on their ability to take time away from work when a new child arrives or  health challenges arise. Working parents need to be able to address the needs of their children and families without jeopardizing their jobs.”

Check out the report link on MJ.com for more info.

So what do you think? Do agree that Georgia deserves an F for its laws to support working families? What else would you like to see Georgia provide families to help them take care of their children and their parents?

35 comments Add your comment

mom2alex&max

May 16th, 2012
6:53 am

The most recent breakthrough in the law was the FMLA act, which is a fine piece of BS. It allows a worker to take up to 12 UNPAID weeks off to take care of a family member. This was heralded as such an amazing piece of legislation when in reality it amounts to absolutely nothing. Only companies with over 50 employees are required to provide it and it us unpaid, Well, not many people can afford 12 weeks of unpaid leave. What good does that do???

The United States in general is a horrible place for mothers to work. It is a shame that a supposedly civilized country only gives up to 12 weeks of unpaid maternity leave. In comparison to other 1st world countries, the US does no better than most 3rd world countries.

catlady

May 16th, 2012
7:01 am

We can be SURE Georgia is near the bottom of the list, and dropping like a stone!

shaggy

May 16th, 2012
7:09 am

Why should “the state” support anyone?
What happened to being self-sufficient?
Who “supported” the previous, and greatest, generation that fought WW II?…no one but themselves, as they fought a war that we can’t imagine, one that could have gone the other way leaving you speaking German or Japanese.

This “support grading” is BS, designed to further the nanny state mentality of entitlement. If you don’t like the “support”, why don’t you just MOVE somewhere else? Here is another original thought, why don’t you get better skills, sell a product of some kind, take another job, and “support” yourself? Again, why must the state do this for you, are you just weak or lazy?

Theresa – Isn’t that what you and Michael did? You found better money “support” in another state, so you moved, didn’t you?

motherjanegoose

May 16th, 2012
7:28 am

I take at least 12 weeks of unpaid leave each year by choice. I chuckle when people who meet me in person say, ” Wow…I would love to be off most of the summer and all holiday weeks.” I reply. “You can…just tell your boss you want off with no PAY or work for yourself and take off when you want too…that is what I do!” Reply. “You are not being PAID when you are off?”
That is a NO and why I am working like a mad woman when I am working. Heading into several weeks of not much work now and looking forward to it since I have criss crossed the country quite a bit in the past several months! I chose to go into education and it was pretty flexible for having a family. Worked for me. Now, I work for myself , as a consultant, and I love a few weeks off…even if they are without pay. BTW I put myself through college and eventually created my own job.

homeschooler

May 16th, 2012
7:34 am

THANK YOU SHAGGY!!! People complain about things like not getting paid for time off work when they have a baby. It is really no different from people wanting other handouts. YOU ARE NOT WORKING! When the government interferes and forces companies to pay you for not working the companies can not survive. THAT is why the economy is so bad right now. Our government will not support private business. Things like minimum wage, over-time and all of the other things that are designed to “help” and “protect” the employee just hurt the companies. Then Americans get mad when small companies hire illegals and larger companies send their business over seas. If America was booming the companies would be making money and they would compete for employees by offering things like paid maternity leave. But when employees are a dime a dozen and companies are taxed into oblivion and struggling to stay afloat due to government regulations employees can expect nothing. If everyone ran a company for a while they might understand that you can’t afford to just pay someone who is not working.
Here’s a thought. Don’t have kids until you can afford them.
Personally I fully enjoyed my 12 weeks of paid maternity leave (twice). However, I purposefully took a job with the state and get paid much less money than I would in the private sector but one of the benefits is the opportunity to build leave time. Then, I did not decide to have a child until I had saved up enough leave to make sure I would be paid for my three months.

homeschooler

May 16th, 2012
7:36 am

Thank you MJG also. Kudos to anyone who does it on their own. I beg my husband regularly to give up his company. Being self employed definitely has its perks but sometimes it is more than I can take!

motherjanegoose

May 16th, 2012
7:44 am

@homeschooler, I have crazy stories every day and wonder how companies can stay afloat with the intellect of some of the people who work for them. I am in a HUGE random sample and am seeing more and more people who do not know how to follow directions or comprehend a contract. I have even had some tell me, ” Oh we signed the contract but did not really pay attention to it.”

Um,if I did that and decided that I would show up at NOON when you had 100 teachers there at 9:00 a.m., there might be a problem.

Seems like technology would make things simpler but I am finding many who do not know how to communicate nor follow up with what needs to be done. Just my opinion but I am in a pool of people from Florida to Alaska.

RJ

May 16th, 2012
8:17 am

FMLA is great because it allows you to take off to take care of yourself or family menmbers without the fear of being fired. Prior to this law, companies were firing people if they took too much time off to care for sick family members. Acutally was told a story about a classmates mom that was terminated while she was dying in the hospital. That’s why this law exists. This woman lost her job AND her child.

I just took 12 weeks of FMLA with my pregnancy. I’m a teacher and didn’t have 12 weeks of leave time, however I had a decent savings. Since my pregnancy wasn’t planned, I didn’t get to save up days, although I find that difficult to do with kids anyway. I was just glad to be able to stay at home and nurture my baby. Unfortunately I wasn’t given time to pump when I returned to work, so I’ve had to fit it in whenever I could. That is ridiculous, but this is Georgia. The labor laws are outdated and don’t favor the employee.

Jennifer

May 16th, 2012
8:35 am

Seriously I cannot believe someone would want the government to force a private company to PAY you to NOT work just because you want to have a baby. It’s called benefits, something companies offer you as a perk. I took off four months with my son. I used all my sick leave, then all my vacation, the short term disability (which I paid for monthly for the three years leading up and was 50% pay) and finally no pay. I could have gone back at 6 weeks when my vacation and sick leave was used up but I chose to stay home at reduced and finally no pay. Why do people think someone else should pay for their decisions?

jarvis

May 16th, 2012
8:37 am

It’s not the government’s responsibility to “help” with anything like this.

mystery poster

May 16th, 2012
8:58 am

Wow, after reading these comments I’m not surprised at all to see Georgia’s F.

jct

May 16th, 2012
9:15 am

I agree with Shaggy and Homeschooler.

I don’t expect the government to mandate paid leave for m/paternity issues. A family should have a plan for when they wish to expand their family. If you wish to take off 12 weeks then do so but just don’t expect to be paid unless your company offers sick, vacation, short term disability (or a combination of all three).

I would expect that an employer would not penalize someone for wanting to start or expand their family. We already have laws to cover that.

I have always wondered why so many people think it is the state’s job protect family? This is coming from a moderate democrat.

jarvis

May 16th, 2012
9:17 am

@mystery poster, don’t get me wrong. I believe these are nice benefits. I just don’t believe that it is the governement’s role to mandate any of these.

Just like compensation….these types of things will be given by employers that want to attract and retain good employees. Laws mandating that all employers be equal isn’t right. Some private firms want top talent, and others are OK with less than that. It should be up to an employer as to what population of employee they target.

Judge Smails

May 16th, 2012
9:23 am

The FEMLA law was written to prevent companies from firing women who got pregnant. All of the other provisions were added later to mollify the liberals who wanted to have more of a presence at the table and to appear to have the “family” first.

A bunch of hooey if you ask me. If you want time off…then take it.

yuki

May 16th, 2012
9:27 am

The United States is far behind a lot of other countries when it comes to maternity leave and that is unfortunate. The government sure doesn’t mind “taking care” of people who have low incomes, don’t work, are illegal, etc. Have you seen the baby items available under WIC? Oh, I’m not married so I should get free formula, etc. Then there are the rest of us who actually bust our butts every day to provide for our families. I’m lucky in the fact that I work for a company who is family friendly, is generous with benefits and paid time off and I’ll tell you if my kid gets sick, I’m out of here immediately with no repercussions. That being said, I still had a couple of unpaid weeks on maternity leave because I chose to take 12 weeks off. My husband and I prepared for this and were ready. I think it really makes a difference where you work and if they are willing to work with you.

mystery poster

May 16th, 2012
9:28 am

@jarvis
I had both my babies while living in the north and I just assumed that 6 weeks worth of disability benefits was a given. It never occurred to me that it wasn’t the same everywhere. I was surprised when I moved here that my colleagues were not afforded the same benefit.

NAGA

May 16th, 2012
9:29 am

“…graded states on laws that support families, and overall the United States is not looking good.”

(1) Why do we need “laws” for this???
(2) The “study” is yet another “study” done in a 3rd grade manner. The study rates states yet includes “information” regarding federal laws??? Then what about states that have a high number of federal employees – Maryland, Virginia, etc.? What about companies within a state that not only follow the defined state laws but the federal laws also?
(3) Why not include stay home dads which are increasing in numbers these days? This study is a prime example of acceptable sexism in this country.

NAGA

May 16th, 2012
9:32 am

Yes California is doing such a wonderful job with moms but appearanlty ingoring everyone else. The lib state faces a $16 billion budget shortfall. Can you say “tax the evil rich”?

jarvis

May 16th, 2012
9:40 am

NAGA, don’t forget to mention that they have a $16 billion deficit with the largest tax basis in the nation as well.

Augusta

May 16th, 2012
9:41 am

I worked for a company that gave you PAID maternity leave for 8 weeks, and they guaranteed you would still have your job when you returned.. Then, two new moms took maternity leave with pay, and never came back to work. So the company disbanded PAID maternity leave.

Give someone an inch, and they’ll take a mile……

Augusta

May 16th, 2012
9:44 am

And I’m so SICK and tired of hearing about the “Evil Rich”. They worked their butts off, sacrificed on a daily basis to get to where they are now. It’s not up to them to provide for the lazy asses who don’t want to work for what they want. Everyone born in this country has the same opportunity to succeed.

I have busted my hump to get to a comfortable living. So has hubby. We have worked together to build our future, and the future is here now. I don’t think we should have to take care of someone financially, who choses to lay around on the sofa and not get a job. That is NOT my responsibility.

If you want something, work for it. That is THE BEST reward!!!

mystery poster

May 16th, 2012
9:51 am

@Augusta
This is not about people choosing to lay around on the sofa and not get a job. This is about supporting WORKING families.

Me

May 16th, 2012
10:06 am

As others have stated, why should a state “support” anyone?? If individual companies wish to provide additional services then fine; if they don’t, that’s also fine. Companies “support” working families by exchanging a paycheck for work perfomed. If you find yourself in a position where you feel that you cannot “support” your family, then don’t make the choice to have children.

Augusta

May 16th, 2012
10:11 am

I was responding to NAGA’s comment about taxing the “evil rich”.

Me

May 16th, 2012
10:17 am

@Augusta — I have yet to figure out what makes the rich “evil” – Seems that many times those speaking of the “evil rich” are simply jealous. There is nothing in the USA preventing anyone from attaining whatever goal one sets. Whether a person takes the steps to actually achieve such is up to each individual. Kudos to you and your hubby for busting your butts to acheive your goals. I will be honest, I have little sympathy for those who simply choose not to try yet have the expectation that someone else has the responsibility for such support.

FCM

May 16th, 2012
11:27 am

@ Mom @ Alex….you forgot that the company can require you to use your vacation time as part of the 12 weeks FMLA leave…not in addition but concurrent.

TXMom

May 16th, 2012
11:40 am

I’ve always considered myself a right-leaning moderate, but man, some of the comments here today make me feel like a tree-hugging hippie.

FCM

May 16th, 2012
11:46 am

@ Shaggy – I concur! But then as a Libertarian you probably figured I would.

mystery poster

May 16th, 2012
12:02 pm

I remember when they were debating the family medical leave act. They were saying it was going to ruin small businesses. I heard the exact same arguments again during the healthcare debate.

mystery poster

May 16th, 2012
12:03 pm

@TXMom
A Texas right-leaning moderate IS a tree-hugging hippie in Georgia :-)

Denise

May 16th, 2012
3:06 pm

When I read the heading, I wasn’t thinking of financial support or even maternity leave; I was thinking about “don’t fire me because I have a sick [somebody] to care for” or other forms of job protection when you just can’t help it. Sure it would be nice to have more than 6 weeks off for maternity leave (1 week for paternity) but you can stay out 6 more without pay but without losing your job. “My wife has chemo” is a lot different than “I’m a slack @$$ that doesn’t want to do my job.” There are things that come up that we cannot control and as long as we EXPECT the company to pay us during that time I don’t see what the problem is and I do believe the company is supporting the family by allowing the time off.

jarvis

May 16th, 2012
3:35 pm

@mystery poster, if you were in NJ or NY you also had state disability taken out of every single paycheck. Were you working in either of those?

Warrior Woman

May 16th, 2012
5:19 pm

I’m with shaggy. It’s not the state’s responsibility to support people. If employers find that certain family-friendly benefits improve their ability to hire and retain good staff, they will offer them. If your employer doesn’t offer such benefits and you want them, find another job or buy a private insurance policy that gives you the coverage you want.

shaggy

May 16th, 2012
5:38 pm

mystery poster,

Wow, big surprise that you came from the north, NOT! Those state governments have a long tradition of socialistic behavior.
I remember going to NJ for the first time, had an “almost cute” (none cuter than you southern girls) girl showing me to Atlantic City. I stopped to get gas in the rental, pulled the pump and commenced pumping, then a Tony Soprano looking fellow comes waddling out shouting, “YOU CAN’T DO THAT!” and other untelligible garbage. I bowed up and said step back chum, or I am going to turn you into a Philly Cheeseteak. He said, “Only a union attendant can pump gas in this state…you can’t do that, wah, wah, wah.” To his credit, he was taking me serious about turning me him into a sadwich, which he should have been, as I was serious, and he let me finish my gas pumping without further whining. Ms “almost cute” with the grating accent, practically ripped her clothes off on the rest of the trip to AC, saying she had never seen such courage. I drawled…that is just how we do things in the south. I never saw her again, but I’ll bet she moved to Atlanta soon thereafter.

shaggy

May 16th, 2012
5:52 pm

should read “me turning him into a sandwich” …I am outta here.