Today, after years of advocacy, Tennessee becomes the 30th state in the country to provide stronger legal protections for pregnant workers. A Better Balance has been proud to lead the fight on the ground in Tennessee to enact the Tennessee Pregnant Workers Fairness Act over the past six years, working closely with a strong coalition of local and state partners as well as providing drafting and legal support.
The Metropolitan Council of Nashville, TN recently passed a resolution urging all employers in the city to provide immediate paid sick leave to their workers. The resolution further calls on Governor Bill Lee and the Tennessee General Assembly to restore legal authority for local governments to decide whether to guarantee paid leave within their cities.
We were honored to be invited by the Tennessee Senate Health & Welfare Committee to present data on the health benefits of providing pregnant workers with reasonable accommodations, when needed. We were joined by our partners at the March of Dimes, who highlighted Tennessee’s high preterm birth rate and persistent racial disparities. Together, we made the public health case for the Tennessee Pregnant Workers Fairness Act.
Since 2015, we've worked closely with advocates and lawmakers to push for a comprehensive paid family & medical leave program in Tennessee. On Wednesday, we joined State Representative Gloria Johnson in Knoxville to announce the Tennessee Family Insurance Act, a bill to grant paid family and medical leave to all workers in the state. Under this proposal, employees would contribute a small amount each month to a paid family and medical leave insurance fund.
This Black Breastfeeding Week, we were thrilled to sit down with Dr. Flora Ukoli, M.D., MPH., IBCLC. Dr. Ukoli is a Professor of Community Medicine at Meharry Medical College in Nashville, Tennessee, the first historically Black four-year medical school in the South. She is a World Health Organization Breastfeeding and Lactation Master Trainer, and has engaged in extensive Baby-Friendly breastfeeding promotion and advocacy in Nigeria and the United States.
Over the weekend, The New York Times published a powerful article featuring our client in Tennessee, Theresa Gonzales. Theresa, an admissions counselor and the sole breadwinner of her family who was about to become a first-time mother, told her employer, South College, she hoped to take six weeks of unpaid leave then return to her job. Instead, she was fired just days after giving birth because of a discriminatory policy only allowing a maximum of five days off from work. As we told the Times, Theresa’s story is outrageously common.
Our new policy brief--State of Our State: Women in the Workforce, released jointly with nonpartisan think tank ThinkTennessee--highlights the systemic barriers in Tennessee that prevent women, especially women of color and mothers, from achieving economic security.
Tennessee's Economy is Hampered by a Lack of Pro-Family Policies that Support Working Women Half of Tennessee families depend on a female breadwinner. Yet, most women in our state, especially…
Momentum continues to build for paid family and medical leave across the country in the most exciting legislative session for paid family and medical leave bills yet. We’re working with coalition partners on bills across the country, providing drafting assistance and key legal and policy support.