A Better Balance was proud to join the New York City Public Advocate, Jumaane Williams, at a rally last Tuesday, October 5th, calling for the passage of a package of legislation aimed at supporting maternal health and addressing disparities in health outcomes faced by Black birthing people in New York City.
Through our work in New York City, and the calls to ABB’s free legal helpline, we know how important it is to ensure that pregnant people and parents in New York City have the support they need to balance the competing demands of work and care. At last Tuesday’s rally, A Better Balance Staff Attorney Meghan Racklin explained, “Workplace protections—such as access to time off, fair and flexible schedules, and reasonable accommodations—are a key social determinant of health for workers. For Black women and parents in particular, these supports are especially pressing as the Black maternal health crisis remains frighteningly persistent in New York City.”
Yet, despite New York City having some of the strongest workplace protections, too often, they remain inaccessible to those who often need them most, including Black mothers and parents. For instance, in our recently released report, “Our Crisis of Care,” which surveyed New York City workers about their caregiving responsibilities and workplace challenges during the pandemic, we found women of color were more likely than white women to have needed to take time off to care for a child (36 percent to 29 percent) and less likely to have paid leave available to them, indicating an urgent need for education and enforcement of existing leave laws and additional emergency leave rights.
We are so proud to support the Public Advocate’s critical work to further Black maternal health and were proud to work with his office on a bill—New York City Council Intro. 2370-2021—that will ensure that workers who seek medical care are informed of their rights at work—such as their rights to sick time, paid family leave, and reasonable accommodations for pregnancy and disability. Having this knowledge will give Black mothers the power they deserve: the power to access their rights, maintain their health, and support their families.