American families are structurally complex and diverse, making a family definition that allows workers to care for a broad range of their loved ones – and not just those to whom they are biologically or legally related – a crucial piece of any effective paid leave policy. The need for an inclusive family definition is increasingly relevant now as the Coronavirus pandemic continues and more states have statewide or partial stay-at-home orders in place and social distancing is encouraged.
Who makes a family? If you ask people throughout the U.S., the question would undoubtedly yield a wide variety of responses. Today’s families do not fit one mold – they are multi-generational, blended, LGBTQ, and span beyond legally or biologically related loved ones. Yet some policies, such as the federal Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), have fallen short for workers and their families.
Advocates in Georgia passed four local nondiscrimination ordinances that protect LGBTQ individuals, Massachusetts became the first state to pass a transgender-inclusive nondiscrimination law by referendum, and six more states have passed laws prohibiting the dangerous and discredited practice of conversion therapy. We were also excited to celebrate our role in passage of several new LGBTQ-inclusive paid leave laws and victories upholding local LGBTQ rights laws.
Dallas becomes the third city in the South to pass a paid sick time ordinance. Now, workers in nine of the country’s ten most populous cities (we’re looking at you, Houston) have the legal right to earn paid sick time!
We’re proud to have worked closely with coalition partners to get this bill passed and will continue to push for progressive paid leave legislation around the country so that everyone can take the paid leave they need.
Although families are incredibly diverse, our laws and policies often define family relationships narrowly. In 2018 A Better Balance worked with partners across the country to ensure that all family members, regardless of biological or legal ties, would be covered by these important workplace protections.
Overall, the conference was an especially important moment to act in solidarity with our partners in the labor movement following the Supreme Court’s anti-worker rights decision in Janus v. AFSCME earlier this summer.
San Antonio now joins more than 40 states and cities across the country in passing a paid sick time law. With the passage of San Antonio’s ordinance, workers in seven of the country’s eight most populous cities now have the legal right to earn paid sick time!
One of the many high points at the conference was hearing about the incredible cross-movement work happening at the local level, even in the face of state interference.