Snow days and the working family

Now I’m not one to pooh-pooh a day off due to a fluffy white act of God, but with all the schools closed in our area yesterday I wondered how my fellow parents were managing. Some were surely rejoicing, but I’m guessing many were scrambling. Because in spite of the great blizzard of ’10 unless you work at the UN or are a member of Congress, you had to trudge into the office.

We’re lucky enough that I work from home and my husband gets personal days and sick days. But many, many Americans who don’t have paid time off lost much-needed wages yesterday. Coincidentally, the day before I received the following statement from in my inbox regarding the President’s budget for 2011:

“In his budget proposal, the President recognizes that the choice between a paycheck or job and a family member’s health is untenable. The Family and Medical Leave Act was an excellent start, but now it’s time to take the next step. The President’s proposed State Paid Leave Fund, which would provide $50 million grants to help states launch paid leave programs, will give states an important incentive to enact the paid leave policies that families so desperately need.

“The President’s budget would also provide resources to help the Department of Labor improve its data collection with regard to the intersection of work and family responsibilities.

via Statement of Kristin Rowe-Finkbeiner, Co-Founder and Executive Director, MomsRising on President Obama’s Budget Proposal FY 2011 | Moms Rising.

A paid leave act might not help on snow days (but it might? I’m wondering if this counts anytime your child is home from school…) but it will help when a new baby arrives or a sick or elderly family member needs assistance. Regardless of the very specific and infrequent instance of a random school closing, working families need some kind of backup when caring for others means they can’t be at the office. Let’s hope this budget item doesn’t get lost, or diminished in the battle. Working families belong to both political parties. This should not be a partisan issue.

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