History

The founders of A Better Balance are a group of lawyers who successfully worked together on a variety of women’s rights and economic issues and sought to forge a comprehensive multi-strategic approach to addressing the work-family dilemma. In 2006, we took on the task of transforming the American workplace and raising awareness of the importance of caregiving in public policy decisions. ABB’s mission, from day one, was to promote equality and expand choices for women and men at all income levels so they may care for their families without sacrificing their economic security. We wanted to change the way America works.

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2006

  • A Better Balance (ABB) is founded.
  • San Francisco voters pass first paid sick days law in the country.

2007

  • ABB convenes national experts for work/family summit and releases report on work/family dilemma and solutions for all New Yorkers.

2008

  • New Jersey becomes second state to enact paid family leave.
  • Washington, D.C. enacts paid sick days law, and Milwaukee voters approve paid sick days proposal drafted by ABB.

2009

  • ABB drafts New York City Earned Sick Time Act and rallies with supporters as it is introduced at the City Council for the first time.
  • ABB assists in legal defense of Milwaukee paid sick days law.
  • ABB launches Families @ Work Legal Clinic in partnership with Outten & Golden, to assist low-income New Yorkers with workplace problems related to pregnancy and caregiving.

2010

  • ABB receives inaugural Outten & Golden Public Interest Award, in recognition and support of our work advancing the rights of workers.
  • New York State Domestic Workers Bill of Rights passes with support from ABB, which testified and advocated on behalf of the bill.
  • ABB helps to convene summit on work/family solutions for New England and publishes summit report.

2011

  • ABB provides legal support to successful campaign for paid sick days in Seattle, WA, making it the third city in the country to enact paid sick days.
  • Milwaukee paid sick days challenge is won with ABB’s legal help, although a statewide preemption law is passed to overrule the Wisconsin courts and Milwaukee’s voters.
  • ABB releases report based on original data to examine the work-family challenges facing fathers.
  • ABB files amicus brief in California Court of Appeals supporting state kincare law, which is ultimately upheld.

2012

  • Dina Bakst’s Jan. 30 op-ed in the New York Times launches national movement to pass pregnancy accommodation laws, and spurs introduction of the federal Pregnant Workers Fairness Act, which ABB helped to draft.
  • Long Beach, California, passes Paid Sick Days for hotel workers.
  • ABB and coalition partners re-launch campaign for paid sick days in NYC.
  • ABB collects more than 11,000 signatures for paid family leave in New York and delivers stories from constituents to Albany legislators, urging action.

2013

  • ABB is one of here organizations at the table to negotiate the NYC Earned Sick Time Act. The City Council overwhelmingly passes the bill and overrides the Mayor’s veto to provide an entitlement to paid sick time for 3.4 million working New Yorkers.
  • ABB publishes Babygate, the first-of-its-kind guide for expecting and new parents about their workplace rights, to overwhelmingly positive reviews.
  • ABB’s advocacy on pregnancy accommodations, family status discrimination, and equal pay featured in New York Women’s Equality Agenda.
  • ABB helps to draft Rhode Island paid family leave bill, making it the third state in the country to guarantee paid time off for family care.
  • ABB advises San Francisco in passage of law enabling caregivers to request flexible schedules without retaliation.
  • ABB issues comprehensive reports on LGBT rights and paid leave laws, entitled Time for a Change, and It Shouldn’t be a Heavy Lift, with the National Women’s Law Center, on fair treatment for pregnant workers.
  • ABB spearheads successful campaign to make New York City the first to enact fairness for pregnant workers
  • With critical help from ABB, Portland, OR, Jersey City, NJ, and SeaTac, WA pass paid sick days laws

2014

  • ABB plays an integral role in strengthening and expanding NYC’s paid sick time law
  • California, Massachusetts, San Diego and Oakland, CA and seven cities in New Jersey enact paid sick time laws, using ABB’s model. ABB provides critical legal support in the Massachusetts ballot initiative that passes overwhelmingly, making it the third state to enact a paid sick time law.
  • ABB opens southern office in Nashville, TN
  • Under pressure from ABB and partners, Walmart upgrades policy for pregnant workers.
  • Feminist Press publishes second edition of Babygate, and ABB launches website version to break down the pregnancy and parenting laws in an easy-to-use, state-by-state, searchable format.
  • ABB co-authors amicus brief in the Supreme Court supporting former UPS worker Peggy Young in her fight for pregnancy accommodations.
  • ABB helps five states and four cities enact pregnant worker fairness laws
  • ABB featured in the New York Times for helping low-wage women get back to work using the NYC Pregnant Workers Fairness Act
  • ABB launches LGBTQ Work-Family Project with Family Values @ Work.
  • ABB releases report on the Pregnancy Penalty, which is featured on MSNBC.
  • ABB works with the National Women’s Law Center and other partners to draft the “Schedules that Work Act,” to address abusive scheduling practices. The bill is introduced in Congress with a thank you to ABB.

2015

  • ABB marks first anniversary of NYC Earned Sick Time Act, and celebrates distributing more than 10,000 copies of educational materials and fielding more than 175 calls from New Yorkers seeking information and help enforcing their rights.
  • ABB co-founders, Dina Bakst and Sherry Leiwant, awarded the 16th Annual Edith Spivak Award by the New York County Lawyer’s Association, for their efforts to defend and protect the rights of thousands of women.
  • ABB releases Investing in our Families, a report on the case for paid family leave.
  • With 24/7 support from ABB, Oregon becomes fourth state to enact paid sick days law. Five more cities, including Philadelphia, and one county, also join the movement using ABB’s model.
  • Nebraska, North Dakota and Rhode Island enact pregnant worker fairness laws.
  • Key measures pushed by ABB to advance women’s equality pass in NY.
  • ABB helps draft laws introduced in states and cities around the country to address problems of workers’ lack of control over their schedules.

2016

  • ABB helps to usher in landmark victory as New York passes the strongest paid family leave law in the nation.
  • ABB marks its 10th Anniversary with a policy conference at NYU and release of report, Moving Families Forward: Reflections on a Decade of Change.
  • New York City guarantees six weeks of paid parental leave to city employees, and enacts law to prevent all employers from discriminating based on a worker’s status as a family caregiver.
  • Utah and Colorado enact pregnant workers fairness laws.
  • A Better Balance honored to be included in Nashville Council on Gender Equality
  • Millions of workers in Los Angeles, San Diego, and Santa Monica, California, in Minneapolis (MN), Spokane (WA), Plainfield (NJ), and in the state of Vermont gain new paid sick time rights.