Leading on Leave

As a recent college graduate, I have yet to consider how one would handle starting a family while advancing a career and managing bills. Come to find out - it's not easy, especially in the USA.

We're the ONLY developed nation WITHOUT paid maternity leave.  Unpaid leave coupled with burdensome child care tuition is presenting families with quite the conundrum. Whole paychecks are going towards child care, or whole paychecks are given up to care for children at home. So, what are families doing when they want to BE a family?

By: Think Progress 
By: Think Progress
Thanks to the Family and Medical Leave Act some employees are protected from losing their employment and benefits when they take time off for the birth of a child, for tending to sick or injured family members, or  for committing time to the adoption process. Unfortunately, this protection does not extend to all employees. You have to work for a business for at least a year and there has to be at least 49 other employees working for the same business. Is this enough for families?

Some companies listed here choose to provide paid leave for their employees such as Google, Reddit, and Facebook. Does your company offer paid leave? If not, how would your family get by?

Proponents say that offering paid leave for families is not only good business sense, but necessary in closing the wage gap between men and women, because more often than not women assume the care-taking responsibilities.

Opponents say they would like their employees to reach out to them and work together to create a plan for leave, instead of having government mandated requirements.

Should the USA have mandatory policies for paid maternity leave? Paid paternity leave? Paid family leave?

Add your voice on social media using #LeadOnLeave
Or leave a comment below and we'll chat.

I leave you with a short video on the subject, by the US Department of Labor.


Handling Workplace Discrimination

First, thank you if you filled out the survey! You shared a lot of great feedback that will help CTG move forward with webinars. Second,I wanted to respond to a couple of people who were interested in how to handle discrimination in the work place. Let's get to it!

Just so we're on the same page: Workplace discrimination is when someone is treated less favorably than others because of any characteristics including: race, color, religions, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, disability, or status as protected veteran.

Ask. If you think you're being paid less than your coworkers, ask them. It can be an uncomfortable topic, but it's worth it. Some employers even outwardly discourage pay discussion, this is called a gag rule. Gag rules are illegal, end of story.
Make your employer aware. Don't let discrimination or harassment go unnoticed. Tell your employer. How can they do anything if they don't know you're upset? Once they know it's happening, they are accountable.
Save anything that could be considered evidence of discrimination.  Lilly Ledbetter received an anonymous note telling her she was getting paid less than her male counterparts. This note went to court with her. Eventually she paved the way for the Lilly Ledbetter Act of 2009. Simply put, you will need evidence.
Document your experience. - Keep a diary if someone makes sexist, racist or discriminating comments to you. This too can be evidence when bringing complaints to an employer or court. (Compiled from FindLaw)

These tips are a good start. But, I still wonder what are women supposed to do if they CAN'T AFFORD to lose their job, and their fear stops them from speaking up.

My suggestion: 1.Follow the steps above, 2.Look for a new job. When you have that new job, Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) states that you have two years to file a complaint against your former employer.

Have you ever faced discrimination in the work place? How did you handle it?
Share your story so you can help others.


Is the Wage Gap a myth?

I read a Huffington Post article recently suggesting that AAUW and "serious economists" have teamed up and "exposed the wage gap" as myth. The article pointed to a couple of AAUW's findings to demonstrate their point.

The AAUW report states that it "Compares 'apples' to 'apples' by looking at the pay gap after controlling for various factors known to affect earnings, such as occupation, college major, and hours worked." After comparing these apples, AAUW found only a 7% difference in pay between men and women. 

Yes, when male and female counterparts take the same amount of time off for family matters, they're making closer to the same wages. Reality check - family matters are often taken on by women rather than men - which affects their wages. Is this obligation? Choice? Tradition?

EqualPaybackProject.com Info Graphic
Similarly, when men and women work the same job, they're closer to closing the wage gap. Reality check - there are less women in those high paying male-dominated jobs. 

How are we supposed to close the wage gap if we strip the discussion of factors that influence pay inequity? 

What do you think? 

We're putting together a webinar series about different ways to close the wage gap. Vote for which topics you would like to see most. 
  • Reconciling Work and Family Life without Sacrificing Wages 
  • Building Better Negation Skills
  • Financial Planning for Women
  • Cultivating Mentors and Sponsors at Work
  • Participating in the Political Process to Drive Legislation
  • Engaging Young people in the Political Process 

Please take the 30 second survey, HERE
Check back for further discussion on the wage gap, let's chat. 


About Closing the Gap:50 Years Seeking Equal Pay

President John F. Kennedy signed the Equal Pay Act into law in 1963, guaranteeing equal pay for women and men doing the same work for the same employer.

Have women seen progress since then?  Sure.

Has it come fast enough?  No.

According to the National Partnership for Women & Families, the current wage gap has improved at a rate of less than half a cent per year since 1963.  At that rate, the wage gap won’t close completely until the year 2053.

But American women – literally – cannot afford to wait that long for fair pay.
Closing the Gap: 50 Years Seeking Equal Pay explores why the pay gap persists and how to improve it. We hope to arm women with information and skills to assist them in earning fair pay throughout their own careers and toward a secure retirement.