Young people entering the workforce are at a critical juncture in their lives and careers; while teenagers and young adults might be especially vulnerable to exploitation and a lack of important workplace supports, they also have tremendous power in shaping the future of work and empowering themselves and their communities to exercise their rights and fight for fairer workplaces.
We at ABB know the importance of workers exercising their rights under existing laws in creating healthier workplaces for all, and for young people, a working knowledge of these protections and how to assert oneself in exercising one’s rights is especially important. When young workers set a standard of equity and fairness in their own workplaces and communities, the impact can also help shape the changing face of work and normalize supportive policies like paid sick time, fair and flexible scheduling, accommodations for pregnant and postpartum workers, and paid family and medical leave for all.
New research from the Center for Business & Social Justice shows that workers who belong to Generation Z (widely considered to be those born between 1997 and 2012) particularly value supportive workplaces. Gen Z workers are more likely than older generations to say state paid family and medical leave policies are key in determining whether they will move to a given state, further proving the fact that the policies we fight to pass every day are good for state and local economies and communities.
As these new findings compound the importance of access to state-level policies like paid family and medical leave, we also have reason to celebrate recent steps towards a federal paid leave program that would make these critical benefits a right for workers across the country: Earlier this month, Congress reintroduced the FAMILY Act, which would provide up to 12 weeks of job-protected paid leave bond with a new child, or to care for oneself or one’s loved ones. Critically, the FAMILY Act will also allow adults over the age of 18 to receive care from their parents, providing crucial coverage to young adults and their family caregivers.
As we continue to work towards a more just future for all workers, it is important to recognize the power of young workers’ voices and votes, and to equip those entering the workforce with the resources they need to exercise their own legal rights in fighting for the just, supportive, equitable workplaces they deserve.
Our state-by-state Workplace Rights Hub can help you learn more about existing local, state, and federal protections for workers caring for themselves and their loved ones. Additionally, our free and confidential legal helpline can provide you with hands-on support in understanding and exercising your rights. Learn more about the fight to pass paid leave for all here.