Friday, June 06, 2008

NCRW Friday Morning Plenary (Post 5)

Kate Kahan on Economic Justice

Kate Kahan reflects on her personal experience with poverty as a single mother and transitions into discussing HOW TO FRAME “WORK AND FAMILY ISSUES.” She discusses the triumph of passing the Family Medical Leave Act, while also pointing out its shortcomings, especially for women who do not qualify for FMLA benefits (such as those who work part-time).

Kahan expresses her frustration with work/family balance framing of these issues, as it put the onus on individuals and does not put enough focus on the system creating less than optimal situations. She cites the importance of paid sick days for workers.

On a positive note, Kahan points out that things are starting to shift in terms of work/family policy. She notes that all 3 presidential candidates have put forth strong platforms on work/family policy as well as various federal legislation that will be considered in 2008. She also cites several local and state and advances, such as paid sick days being mandated in San Francisco and paid leave being adopted in Washington and New Jersey. She is especially excited about the new definition of family member that has been included in the FMLA in terms of expanding caregiver options. (I wonder about the implications of the expansion of the definition of family in federal law…hm!)

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