Bush to Repeal Rule Providing Unemployment Pay to Parents on Family Leave
Despite his campaign promises proclaiming support for “family values,” Bush earlier this month announced his intention to repeal the Birth and Adoption Unemployment Compensation Rule which provides unemployment pay for workers on leave to care for a new child. Judith L. Lichtman, president of the National Partnership for Women and Families told the New York Times, “It’s just a slap in the face to working people…All this regulation did was, for the first time, give states the option to use” unemployment insurance to compensate parents on unpaid family leave.
The Labor Department insists that the rule—approved by former President Bill Clinton in June 2000—must be repealed because it burdens states, already suffering low unemployment funds during the economic recession. However, to date no state has even exercised the option because many are amidst legislative efforts to implement the program. The repeal “reflects profound mistrust of states to make wise choices” in managing their unemployment pay programs, said AFL-CIO President John Sweeney, according to the Associated Press.
California is the first state in the nation to enact a comprehensive paid family leave plan –albeit one that is not paid via unemployment insurance. Five other states offer a form of paid leave called temporary disability insurance and at least 24 states allow public employees to use sick leave to care for sick family members, while three states require private employers to do so for their employees, according to the National Partnership for Women & Families.
The United States is one of few developed nations that does not offer some form of paid parental leave—the US enacted the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) in 1993, which requires unpaid leave for workers. Approximately 127 countries offer compensation to parents, while many others have passed similar laws to compensate workers who need time off because of family emergencies. “We as a nation love to talk about ourselves as a family-friendly nation, but when it comes to having the policies in place to live up to that we often fall short,” Lichtman told the Los Angeles Times.
Media Resources: Associated Press 12/3/02; NY Times 12/3/02; NOW 12/9/02; National Partnership for Women and Families 12/3/02; Feminist Daily News Wire
8/28/2015 Alaska Court Protects Abortion Access for Low-Income Women - The Alaska Superior Court struck down a state law yesterday that would have severely limited abortion access for low-income women in Alaska.
The state's Superior Court also struck down a Department of Health and Social Services regulation that placed narrow specifications on Medicaid coverage for abortions, requiring that Medicaid-funded abortions be determined by a physician to be "medically necessary." Last year, the Center for Reproductive Rights, the American Civil Liberties Union, and Planned Parenthood sued on behalf of the Planned Parenthood of the Great Northwest, claiming that the narrow definition of "medically necessary" arbitrarily established conditions designed to restrict the ability of low-income women to access abortion services.
The law was temporarily blocked last July by an Alaskan state court judge.
Superior Court Judge John Suddock ordered yesterday that the state be blocked from implementing this regulation, ruling that it placed an undue burden on low-income women seeking abortion services in Alaska.
"By providing health care to all poor Alaskans except women who need abortions, the challenged regulation violates the state constitutional guarantee of 'equal rights, opportunities, and protection under the law'," the ruling read.
"We applaud the superior court for striing down these cruel restrictions on women's health and rights that violate the Alaska Constitution," said Chris Charbonneau, CEO of Planned Parenthood of the Great Northwest and the Hawaiian Islands. . . .
8/26/2015 Saudi Women Prepare to Vote for the First Time - The fight for gender equality is making slow but notable progress in Saudi Arabia, where women will be allowed to vote for the first time in upcoming December elections.
This shift in Saudi law came in 2011, when a royal decree announced that women would be allowed to vote and run in local elections beginning in December of 2015. . . .