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Friday, November 16, 2007

Balancing Act


by Tracee Sioux

How does this sound?

  • Paid family leave so no mother has to go back to work days after giving birth,

  • Public universal pre-school,

  • Major investments in child care so having a child is no longer the top reason American families have "a poverty spell",

  • After school programs for all kids who need them,

  • Health care for all children,

  • Benefits for part-time workers, and

  • Telecommuting incentives so parents have more flexible work options.

  • While I am a so-called liberal democrat nearly everyone I know and love is a conservative Christian.

    Here's the thing - we all want the same things and share the same basic values.

    Women who describe themselves as "stay-at-home-moms" are working. They are working part-time for low pay and getting no benefits, no security, no acknowledgement or validation from their work, but they ARE working.

    Women who describe themselves as "working mothers" would stay at home more and work fewer hours given the flexibility and choice.

    Then there is a whole class of women who vacillate between the two distinctions and make various compromises depending on age of children and practical economics. Those compromises usually sacrifice health care and benefits for more time. It's not a necessary sacrifice when we could just require employers to offer it up without penalty.

    We, as voters and citizens, need to remember that the government works for us. Not the other way around. In a democracy, we get to decide what the rules are and how the game is played. We do that by writing letters and electing the people that are looking out for our best interests. Let the employer look out for his own best interest - they pay people to lobby for that. The US Constitution wasn't design to protect employers, it was designed to protect We, the People.

    Both the liberal Democrat and the conservative Republican family can see how telecommuting, working from home, benefits for part-time work, paid family leave, after school programs and health care are good for every family in America.

    American families deserve it and Momsrising is demanding it. There is a bill before congress right now called The Balancing Act that makes life easier for families.

    If you want to see the divorce rate go down and more face-time between kids and their parents, it's laws like The Balancing Act that make it possible.

    Follow this link and write your representatives and tell them you expect the American Government to do this for American Families.

    Our daughters deserve better choices than we have. Just as we have better choices than our mothers.

    10 comments:

    Aaron said...

    These are all great. Fantastic in every way, but they all have catches. Cost and feasibility. Too many rainbows in that list.

    For example. Paid time off for maternity leave is fantastic, but for a smaller company, it would bleed them silly to a point of needing to fire the employee. Fining that company for doing so in turn creates bad guys out of smaller companies that mean well, but don't have the resources to carry out this. Would the government have to pay for this if it is for smaller company then? Do we no longer get credit on our taxes for family/dependents if so? Basic accounting, if you have to put funding from one area, it usually means something is getting pulled from another.

    Another problem with socialization is it alows the government to pry and control more than we would want. Patriot Act is scary enough. In other words, though I favor socialized healthcare, here is the ugly side to it. "If we're going to pay the bills for your healthcare, then we get to dictate and enforce the vaccinations we deem are appropriate to keep you as well as possible. We certainly don't want you to get ovarian cancer at such an early age, nor do we want chicken pox eating up our budget."

    While I'm not a big Ron Paul supporter, I do support the concept of basically rebooting parts of our country. Changing many of the ways the cogs and gears of our great country works currently can actually alleviate many of the symptoms and pains we currently experience so in the end we don't need to rely on so many social programs.

    Wishful thinking at best, for both of us.

    -Aaron L.

    Tracee said...

    Look around. We live in a country full of abundance.

    Does it look to you like there is a lack of resources?

    It's a matter of distribution. If we shoulder the burden equally then every feels some relief.

    I would point out "the government" doesn't pay for anything. WE - the people - pay for everything whether it's private health insurance or taxes.

    We - the people - can afford it if we decide we can afford it.

    Small businesses already fire the employee. See me? I'm that employee. Fired 8 months pregnant - no recourse. My pregnancy was inconvenient for them.

    There will be some issues about what will be required and what will be covered - that's for sure. But, it's not as if this has never been done before - we're actually the LAST to do it.

    The rest of the industrialized world already has policies that prove they value women as mothers and as employees. They value children and families. Right now it looks like the only thing Americans value is business.

    Aaron said...

    Ok, but lets take my current employer. 10 employees. If our copy writer took maternity leave, then we would have to hire another one temporarily while she was out. Unless they got the new hire for a song and a dance, they are paying double the salary for a temporary new hire (since they are paying the other copywriter her salary also).

    This in turn limits potential growth, as well as jepordizing having enough budget to cover everyone else on the payroll.

    So what are you thinking. Full salary while out?

    Tracee said...

    I agree that's tough for your employer.

    But, as a country we're not designed to protect the interests of your employer. We're invested in protecting the interests of the people.

    I would also point out that it's not your job to look out for your employer's interest. As a citizen and an employee it's your job to look out for YOUR best interest and you, specifically, NEED health insurance and family leave.

    Personally, I would like to see benefits centralized with the government. It would operate like the current workmans compensation system. This way the burden wouldn't be on small businesses - or big ones.

    If you value the family then something has to change. We can't keep doing the same thing - only looking out for business interest - and expecting a different result.

    Families are splitting up, kids don't have face time with parents, people are going without basic health care.

    We can fix that - but not if we keep doing things the way we're doing them.

    Tracee said...

    I feel compelled to add that if your employer were feeling as empathetic and magnanimous about your position as you are his then you would have health insurance.

    But, he's not.

    It's not just maternity leave. It's family leave. If your kid is in the hospital you deserve have a job to come back to. If you have to take care of your parents you deserve some time to do it. When a child is born a father deserves to be there to help mommy recover and bond with baby. Americans shouldn't be put in positions to choose family OR job.

    This is basic stuff. It's NOT too much to ask.

    Aaron said...

    "Extended paid leave" vs "extended leave and still having a job" are two different concepts.

    I fully support and back the idea of "leaving a place at the table when your employee comes back" but I can't back "extended leave with pay" 100%. At least not for every company.

    You state that our country's job is to protect the interest of the people, and starting your own company is one of those interest of many.

    Free market, by the people and for the people, has been one of the main factors that has jump started this country quickly from the beginning. It fuels innovation, and allows 2 guys working in a garage in the 70's the ability to evolve into Apple. It helps a couple of other kids in a bad neighborhood in their garage to have the ambition and means to work on that idea of their's called Google.

    It also helped a freelance designer pull his family out of poverty by starting his own small company with little intervention, taxes and stipulations by the government.

    Yet the beautiful thing with the US, that with a little bit of sweat and hard work, "the people" can become "the employer", which doesn't constitute being "the man", but instead an entrepreneurial who happens to be good ol' Joe Six Pack.

    As a small (micro) business owner myself, there are already burdens. More stipulations on paid time off would hinder me from growing my business, thus not creating any new jobs. Now if I got a bit bigger, lets say 30+ employees, then I could defintely see doing a percentage of their salary based on experience, tenure and work performance. 200-500 employees, and the percentage would be higher, and so on and so forth.

    Another example. Let's say Charlie has a small business with 15 employees. That is 15 employees he is able to pay comfortably based on his workload and revenue into the company. Charlie himself isn't rich either, just comfortable. Because of the nature of his business, it attracts more women, so 9 of his employees are female. Due to forces unexplained by science, 4 women become pregnant in the same span of time (I've seen it happen, usually around April for some reason). Ok, several months later they take time off.

    Charlie is now 4 team players down. Of course, he'll need to hire someone temporarily to fill their shoes, so that means he'll basically be doubling what he would normally have to pay out to continue paying people who are not generating income PLUS their temporary replacement.

    Now lay out some dominoes, knock the first one over, and you experience a trickle down effect that will first hurt the expendable employees and then go elsewhere to effect other areas which will hurt growth and other employees.

    If this was Google, Apple, Target, etc, no biggie, however not everyone has the sort of deep pockets to afford this luxury to your employee.

    I wouldn't be surprised if Google didn't already offer this, but I bet you Ted's Hardware in Mayberry, North Carolina can't. Google is known for its progressive, employee friendly work environment. However, they had to build before they could afford those luxuries to their workers.

    Being an employer doesn't mean you're rich.

    Tracee said...

    There is no reason to put undue burden on small businesses.

    If we centralize paid leave it might work like workmans comp. currently does. Like an insurance policy that covers the 3/4 pay of the 4 women who got pregnant in April. Or the disability insurance policy that covers lost pay when you break both arms and can't work - but it covers when your kid is in the hospital too.

    It could be available to all self-employed and small businesses. This way it protects both the employee from lost pay and the employer from paying double.

    It should protect small businesses and the self-employed too. There is no reason it should be this risky to be self employed or entreprenureal.

    If you really want to encourage small business growth and the entreprenureal spirit then you take huge risk of being uninsured out of the equation.

    For instance, why aren't you working on your business fulltime? Why can't that be your next move? Because of the benefits. You would have MORE freedom to have your own business, not less, if we have univeral health care and paid family leave.

    Every other country on the planet already does this for women and families.

    It's hard to make the argument that it can't work when it's already working for ALL other industrialized nations. Seriously ALL. They are capitalists too.

    Kelly Malloy said...

    I love your plan!

    Violet said...

    How about health care for everyone, not just children?

    Tracee said...

    Yeah, I'm for that too. But, it seems unlikely until 2008. This is before congress right now.

    Friday, November 16, 2007

    Balancing Act


    by Tracee Sioux

    How does this sound?

  • Paid family leave so no mother has to go back to work days after giving birth,

  • Public universal pre-school,

  • Major investments in child care so having a child is no longer the top reason American families have "a poverty spell",

  • After school programs for all kids who need them,

  • Health care for all children,

  • Benefits for part-time workers, and

  • Telecommuting incentives so parents have more flexible work options.

  • While I am a so-called liberal democrat nearly everyone I know and love is a conservative Christian.

    Here's the thing - we all want the same things and share the same basic values.

    Women who describe themselves as "stay-at-home-moms" are working. They are working part-time for low pay and getting no benefits, no security, no acknowledgement or validation from their work, but they ARE working.

    Women who describe themselves as "working mothers" would stay at home more and work fewer hours given the flexibility and choice.

    Then there is a whole class of women who vacillate between the two distinctions and make various compromises depending on age of children and practical economics. Those compromises usually sacrifice health care and benefits for more time. It's not a necessary sacrifice when we could just require employers to offer it up without penalty.

    We, as voters and citizens, need to remember that the government works for us. Not the other way around. In a democracy, we get to decide what the rules are and how the game is played. We do that by writing letters and electing the people that are looking out for our best interests. Let the employer look out for his own best interest - they pay people to lobby for that. The US Constitution wasn't design to protect employers, it was designed to protect We, the People.

    Both the liberal Democrat and the conservative Republican family can see how telecommuting, working from home, benefits for part-time work, paid family leave, after school programs and health care are good for every family in America.

    American families deserve it and Momsrising is demanding it. There is a bill before congress right now called The Balancing Act that makes life easier for families.

    If you want to see the divorce rate go down and more face-time between kids and their parents, it's laws like The Balancing Act that make it possible.

    Follow this link and write your representatives and tell them you expect the American Government to do this for American Families.

    Our daughters deserve better choices than we have. Just as we have better choices than our mothers.

    10 comments:

    Aaron said...

    These are all great. Fantastic in every way, but they all have catches. Cost and feasibility. Too many rainbows in that list.

    For example. Paid time off for maternity leave is fantastic, but for a smaller company, it would bleed them silly to a point of needing to fire the employee. Fining that company for doing so in turn creates bad guys out of smaller companies that mean well, but don't have the resources to carry out this. Would the government have to pay for this if it is for smaller company then? Do we no longer get credit on our taxes for family/dependents if so? Basic accounting, if you have to put funding from one area, it usually means something is getting pulled from another.

    Another problem with socialization is it alows the government to pry and control more than we would want. Patriot Act is scary enough. In other words, though I favor socialized healthcare, here is the ugly side to it. "If we're going to pay the bills for your healthcare, then we get to dictate and enforce the vaccinations we deem are appropriate to keep you as well as possible. We certainly don't want you to get ovarian cancer at such an early age, nor do we want chicken pox eating up our budget."

    While I'm not a big Ron Paul supporter, I do support the concept of basically rebooting parts of our country. Changing many of the ways the cogs and gears of our great country works currently can actually alleviate many of the symptoms and pains we currently experience so in the end we don't need to rely on so many social programs.

    Wishful thinking at best, for both of us.

    -Aaron L.

    Tracee said...

    Look around. We live in a country full of abundance.

    Does it look to you like there is a lack of resources?

    It's a matter of distribution. If we shoulder the burden equally then every feels some relief.

    I would point out "the government" doesn't pay for anything. WE - the people - pay for everything whether it's private health insurance or taxes.

    We - the people - can afford it if we decide we can afford it.

    Small businesses already fire the employee. See me? I'm that employee. Fired 8 months pregnant - no recourse. My pregnancy was inconvenient for them.

    There will be some issues about what will be required and what will be covered - that's for sure. But, it's not as if this has never been done before - we're actually the LAST to do it.

    The rest of the industrialized world already has policies that prove they value women as mothers and as employees. They value children and families. Right now it looks like the only thing Americans value is business.

    Aaron said...

    Ok, but lets take my current employer. 10 employees. If our copy writer took maternity leave, then we would have to hire another one temporarily while she was out. Unless they got the new hire for a song and a dance, they are paying double the salary for a temporary new hire (since they are paying the other copywriter her salary also).

    This in turn limits potential growth, as well as jepordizing having enough budget to cover everyone else on the payroll.

    So what are you thinking. Full salary while out?

    Tracee said...

    I agree that's tough for your employer.

    But, as a country we're not designed to protect the interests of your employer. We're invested in protecting the interests of the people.

    I would also point out that it's not your job to look out for your employer's interest. As a citizen and an employee it's your job to look out for YOUR best interest and you, specifically, NEED health insurance and family leave.

    Personally, I would like to see benefits centralized with the government. It would operate like the current workmans compensation system. This way the burden wouldn't be on small businesses - or big ones.

    If you value the family then something has to change. We can't keep doing the same thing - only looking out for business interest - and expecting a different result.

    Families are splitting up, kids don't have face time with parents, people are going without basic health care.

    We can fix that - but not if we keep doing things the way we're doing them.

    Tracee said...

    I feel compelled to add that if your employer were feeling as empathetic and magnanimous about your position as you are his then you would have health insurance.

    But, he's not.

    It's not just maternity leave. It's family leave. If your kid is in the hospital you deserve have a job to come back to. If you have to take care of your parents you deserve some time to do it. When a child is born a father deserves to be there to help mommy recover and bond with baby. Americans shouldn't be put in positions to choose family OR job.

    This is basic stuff. It's NOT too much to ask.

    Aaron said...

    "Extended paid leave" vs "extended leave and still having a job" are two different concepts.

    I fully support and back the idea of "leaving a place at the table when your employee comes back" but I can't back "extended leave with pay" 100%. At least not for every company.

    You state that our country's job is to protect the interest of the people, and starting your own company is one of those interest of many.

    Free market, by the people and for the people, has been one of the main factors that has jump started this country quickly from the beginning. It fuels innovation, and allows 2 guys working in a garage in the 70's the ability to evolve into Apple. It helps a couple of other kids in a bad neighborhood in their garage to have the ambition and means to work on that idea of their's called Google.

    It also helped a freelance designer pull his family out of poverty by starting his own small company with little intervention, taxes and stipulations by the government.

    Yet the beautiful thing with the US, that with a little bit of sweat and hard work, "the people" can become "the employer", which doesn't constitute being "the man", but instead an entrepreneurial who happens to be good ol' Joe Six Pack.

    As a small (micro) business owner myself, there are already burdens. More stipulations on paid time off would hinder me from growing my business, thus not creating any new jobs. Now if I got a bit bigger, lets say 30+ employees, then I could defintely see doing a percentage of their salary based on experience, tenure and work performance. 200-500 employees, and the percentage would be higher, and so on and so forth.

    Another example. Let's say Charlie has a small business with 15 employees. That is 15 employees he is able to pay comfortably based on his workload and revenue into the company. Charlie himself isn't rich either, just comfortable. Because of the nature of his business, it attracts more women, so 9 of his employees are female. Due to forces unexplained by science, 4 women become pregnant in the same span of time (I've seen it happen, usually around April for some reason). Ok, several months later they take time off.

    Charlie is now 4 team players down. Of course, he'll need to hire someone temporarily to fill their shoes, so that means he'll basically be doubling what he would normally have to pay out to continue paying people who are not generating income PLUS their temporary replacement.

    Now lay out some dominoes, knock the first one over, and you experience a trickle down effect that will first hurt the expendable employees and then go elsewhere to effect other areas which will hurt growth and other employees.

    If this was Google, Apple, Target, etc, no biggie, however not everyone has the sort of deep pockets to afford this luxury to your employee.

    I wouldn't be surprised if Google didn't already offer this, but I bet you Ted's Hardware in Mayberry, North Carolina can't. Google is known for its progressive, employee friendly work environment. However, they had to build before they could afford those luxuries to their workers.

    Being an employer doesn't mean you're rich.

    Tracee said...

    There is no reason to put undue burden on small businesses.

    If we centralize paid leave it might work like workmans comp. currently does. Like an insurance policy that covers the 3/4 pay of the 4 women who got pregnant in April. Or the disability insurance policy that covers lost pay when you break both arms and can't work - but it covers when your kid is in the hospital too.

    It could be available to all self-employed and small businesses. This way it protects both the employee from lost pay and the employer from paying double.

    It should protect small businesses and the self-employed too. There is no reason it should be this risky to be self employed or entreprenureal.

    If you really want to encourage small business growth and the entreprenureal spirit then you take huge risk of being uninsured out of the equation.

    For instance, why aren't you working on your business fulltime? Why can't that be your next move? Because of the benefits. You would have MORE freedom to have your own business, not less, if we have univeral health care and paid family leave.

    Every other country on the planet already does this for women and families.

    It's hard to make the argument that it can't work when it's already working for ALL other industrialized nations. Seriously ALL. They are capitalists too.

    Kelly Malloy said...

    I love your plan!

    Violet said...

    How about health care for everyone, not just children?

    Tracee said...

    Yeah, I'm for that too. But, it seems unlikely until 2008. This is before congress right now.