Recently in Public Policy Category

The mainstream media loves to talk about "work-family balance." It tells personal stories about how hard it is to juggle deadlines and suppertimes, but rarely asks why that balance is so hard, and how it can be changed. Often, motherhood is when today’s young women first face serious job discrimination and the biases against mothers that are built into American culture, family policy and many marriages.

This inter-generational panel discussion seeks to shed light on discrimination against mothers in the workplace and focus on what can be done to change things for the better. The discussion is moderated by E.J. Graff, WSRC Resident Scholar, and participants include Dana Gershengorn, Neena Pathak (’08) and Mothers Movement Online editor Judith Stadtman Tucker.

Working While Mother: What they don’t tell you…and should
May 8, 2008, 12:30-2:00 PM
Brandeis University
Epstein Building, 515 South Street
Waltham, MA

For information, please contact Lisa Lynch, 781.736.8102 or

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New Jersey Senate passes family leave insurance bill


After more than a decade of fierce opposition split largely along party lines, the New Jersey Senate passed a bill yesterday to provide state workers with partial wage replacement for up to six weeks of family and medical leave. Governor Jon Corzine has promised to sign the bill, which was passed by the state Assembly on March 14, making New Jersey the third state in the nation to enact paid leave legislation (California was the first, with Washington State following suit in 2007). The legislation was sponsored and tirelessly championed by State Senate Majority Leader Steve Sweeney (D-Gloucester) with grassroots support from a broad coalition of social justice, labor, and family & caregiver advocacy organizations, including New Jersey Citizen Action, ACORN, NOW NJ, National Family Caregivers Association, Mothers & More, and MomsRising. The final version of the bill passed by a 21-15 vote.

The Sloan Work and Family Research Network has released Providing Working Families with an Important Resource: Time, the latest briefing paper in a continuing series on work-life policy issues. The four-page issue brief highlights state legislative activity from 2005-2007 that enables workers to manage their work and family needs without sacrificing their mental and physical health, work responsibilities, salary, or familial responsibilities and summarizes research on how providing such resources impacts workers, businesses, and states. Although the Work and Family Research Network Policy Briefing Series was developed to educate state legislators about current social research on the benefits of implementing work-life reconciliation policies at the state level, the briefs are also an excellent source of information for advocates for caregivers and working families.

The Work and Family Research Network has also published a new compilation of state profiles on work-family policy action covering legislative activity during the 2007 session for all 50 states. The one-page profiles provide a snapshot of state workforce demographics and how each state addresses issues facing working families. All 50 Work and Family State Profiles can be accessed from an interactive, online map.

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The Nation's tribute to The New Deal


Progressive writers and pundits -- myself included -- have fallen into the habit of defining the suite of comprehensive health care, labor, and social insurance policies necessary to promote shared prosperity and social inclusion in America as the "Next New Deal." First and foremost, this rubric refers to the dire need to restore a collective commitment to public spending in the United States in order to foster economic and social conditions that support a functional democracy. But it also draws on the understanding that real progress demands political courage and "new" thinking -- a conscious, if not complete, rejection of political beliefs and practices that have historically exacerbated disparities in wellbeing and opportunity between the nation's haves and have-nots.

NWLC: Proposed FY'09 budget shortchanges women and children


An analysis by the National Women's Law Center of spending cuts included in the Bush administration's proposed FY'09 budget finds that "The President’s budget seeks to cut health care, nutrition and energy assistance for low-income families, violence against women programs, and social services for vulnerable families:"

WPI reports on Senate FMLA hearing


On February 13, the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Subcommittee on Children and Families held a hearing on the past success and future challenges of the Family and Medical Leave Act. A report from The Source newsletter (published by Women's Policy, Inc., a non-profit organization that tracks women's issues in Congress) highlights testimony by Senator Christopher Dodd (D-CT), Victoria Lipnic of the Department of Labor, Deborah Ness of the National Partnership for Women and Families, and Katheryn Elliot on behalf of the Society for Human Resources Management, a business-friendly professional association.

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