Our Beauty with Benefits collaborator, QVC, recently invited us to attend an important (and timely) event about workplace support. The White House’s “Lead on Leave” tour, a national series of conversations to promote paid-leave, made a stop at Philadelphia’s City Hall on April 21. Thanks to QVC, Cancer and Careers was right there in the room with Valerie Jarrett, President Obama’s Senior Advisor and Chair of the White House Council on Women & Girls, Deputy Secretary of Labor, Chris Lu, and Philadelphia’s Mayor (and host for the event) Michael Nutter. The armchair conversation focused on how flexible work policies such as paid sick-leave can support working families.
According to the U.S. Department of Labor, the United States is the only industrialized nation without any paid family leave law. “43 million Americans do not have a single day of sick leave,” said Jarrett. Which means millions of employees don’t have the (paid) work flexibility to take care of sick loved ones, newborns, elderly parents, or themselves, when necessary.
The Obama Administration is pushing for legislation in Congress that would provide up to seven days of paid leave per year. (Note that the federal Family and Medical Leave Act currently gives eligible employees the right to take time off for parenting, sickness, or caretaking, however that leave is unpaid.)
Jarrett highlighted some innovative ideas that employers are instituting on their own. She gave the example of a small business owner who gives each employee a gift of $3K each year that has to be used towards taking a vacation. According to the owner, the pay-offs are better rested, more productive, and more loyal employees.
On a larger scale, Jarrett noted how Microsoft not only instituted paid sick leave for its employees, but required that their contractors and vendors offer it to their employees, as well.
For more information, check out our articles on the Americans with Disabilities Act and the Family Medical Leave Act, and Taking Time Off.