Monday, June 28, 2010

US Department of Labor clarifies FMLA definition of ‘daughter and son

Interpretation is a win for all families

The U.S. Department of Labor last week clarified the definition of "son and daughter" under the Family and Medical Leave Act to ensure that a worker who assumes the role of caring for a child receives parental rights to family leave regardless of the legal or biological relationship.

From the News Release ...

"The FMLA allows workers to take up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave during any 12-month period to care for loved ones or themselves. The 1993 law also allows employees to take time off for the adoption or the birth of a child. The administrator interpretation issued by Nancy J. Leppink, deputy administrator of the department's Wage and Hour Division, clarifies that these rights, which provide work-family balance, extend to the various parenting relationships that exist in today's world. This action is a victory for many non-traditional families, including families in the lesbian-gay-bisexual-transgender community, who often in the past have been denied leave to care for their loved ones.

"No one who loves and nurtures a child day-in and day-out should be unable to care for that child when he or she falls ill," said Secretary of Labor Hilda L. Solis. "No one who steps in to parent a child when that child's biological parents are absent or incapacitated should be denied leave by an employer because he or she is not the legal guardian. No one who intends to raise a child should be denied the opportunity to be present when that child is born simply because the state or an employer fails to recognize his or her relationship with the biological parent. These are just a few of many possible scenarios. The Labor Department's action today sends a clear message to workers and employers alike: All families, including LGBT families, are protected by the FMLA."

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Thursday, June 10, 2010

President Obama Calls for Passage of Paycheck Fairness Act

On this 47th anniversary of the Equal Pay Act of 1963, women's rights activists have lifted their voices, calling on the U.S. Senate to end the bottleneck, pass the Paycheck Fairness Act and send it to the President's desk for signature.

Now, President Obama again lends his own voice to those calling for passage in this statement released today by the White House.

The White House

Office of the Press Secretary

Statement by the President on the Anniversary of the Equal Pay Act

On June 10, 1963, President John F. Kennedy signed into law the Equal Pay Act, which sought to end wage discrimination on the basis of sex. At the time, women were paid 59 cents for every dollar earned by men. 47 years later, pay parity remains far from reality, as women in the United States still only earn 77 cents for every dollar earned by men. For women of color, this gap is even wider. This remains unacceptable, as it was when the Act was signed. All women – and their families – deserve equal pay. Women now make up nearly half of the nation’s workforce, most homes have two working parents, and 60 percent of all women work full-time. As we emerge from one of the worst recessions in American history, when families are struggling to pay their bills and save for the future, pay inequity only deepens that struggle and hampers our economy’s ability to fully recover.

But we have taken some important steps to address this inequality. I am proud that the first bill I signed into law was the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, which restored the right to seek a remedy for women who, like the law’s namesake, face wage discrimination during their careers. In my State of the Union address, I pledged to crack down on violations of equal pay laws, and I’ve created the National Equal Pay Enforcement Task Force, bringing together federal agencies to improve the enforcement of equal pay laws. We’ve also increased funding for federal agencies charged with enforcing equal pay laws and other civil rights statutes. The agencies themselves have taken steps to address disparities. For instance, the Department of Labor Women's Bureau is conducting research and analysis, providing technical assistance, and building partnerships to increase women's incomes, narrow the wage gap, and reduce income inequality. And the White House Council on Women and Girls is actively working to close the wage gap.

More needs to be done. I appreciate the House acting on the Paycheck Fairness Act early last year, and I renew my call to the Senate to modernize and strengthen the Equal Pay Act by closing loopholes, providing incentives for compliance, and barring certain types of retaliation against workers by employers. On this anniversary of the Equal Pay Act, let us all renew and redouble our efforts.