Right to Care Report

January 1, 2021


As many of you know, I’m the mom of two great kids (now two great adults), Alina & Isaac. As a woman & single mom who has been an organizer for over thirty years, I’ve struggled at times to find support systems and other people who are in my circumstances in movement work. Being a parent and being a working organizer is difficult for everyone, and we all need a crew of folks who support us. 

Recently, as I began to contemplate the prospect of empty nesting in both my personal & professional lives, I started to wonder how much had changed for organizers of the next generation, as they struggled with the demands of movement work and parenthood. I decided to conduct a short survey of people in my extended network, to see what had shifted, when it came to parenting, paid leave, and family life.

Most respondents (69%) reported that their employer provided some paid parental or family leave. While a patchwork of paid leave laws have been passed at the state and local level in recent years, the United States does not require that employers provide paid leave to their employees, even for people experiencing or recovering from childbirth.  

To contrast this with my personal experience—when my children were born, I worked at a local organizing non-profit (Alina) and a local union (Isaac). Neither of these organizations provided paid parental leave, at the time. While I did take some paid time off, it required the use of sick and vacation time. At the time of my pregnancies/childbirths, neither the state where I lived nor the state I worked in required employers to provide paid time off for childbirth.


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