Mind Your Business

Mind Your Business Week of June 25, 2014

Paid leave for the United States

Summertime is one of my favorite times of the year and, when I leave work, it’s like migrating to a peaceful place. This week will mark the first year anniversary of me losing my mother and my how this time flew by. This is also the time of year when many take vacations and travel to nice destinations to enjoy some fun and relaxation. Vacations are earned mostly by how long you have worked at your job and what they offer so make the best of whatever time you have accumulated. That’s why, this week, I want to talk about what President Barack Obama is attempting to do in the United States. The President feels the United States should offer paid leave for mothers of newborns. Monday, June 23, the president spoke at the White House Summit on Working Families and stressed working families deal with a number of issues like lack of affordable child care, paid maternity leave and employers’ reluctance to allow flexible schedules. It may be too late for someone my age to benefit from this, but I feel it would be nice to give the father a chance to be off and home with his baby and the mother without having to worry about getting paid. In the past, most saved their vacations so they can be off for at least six weeks after having a baby but the father generally had to rush back to work within times two days. The law in Ohio is clear on what happens for mothers who opt to go out on maternity leave. Generally, an employer must treat disability due to pregnancy or childbirth in the same manner as it treats other temporary leave. If an employer has no leave policy, childbearing must be considered by the employer to be a justification for a leave for a reasonable period of time. If an employer has no leave policy, female employees are entitled to take leave for a “reasonable period of time” for pregnancy and childbirth. According to statements by the Ohio Civil Rights Commission (CRC), a “reasonable period of time” is a minimum of 12 weeks of unpaid leave for “pregnancy, childbirth, and related medical conditions.” In addition, the Commission has determined that, at the end of the leave, the employee must be reinstated to “her original position or to a position of like status and pay without loss of service credits or other benefits. Researching the facts, President Obama accused Congress on stalling on policies that would benefit working families and the executive actions he took Monday. While not far reaching, this was his latest attempt to work around Capitol Hill in a midterm election year. This is a great idea but it’s just like most good suggestions if there is hate toward the person. The suggestion is shot down. Have you seen one person make so many stupid non productive choices that made no sense but reject things that make sense? That’s happens on jobs everyday and even in Congress as they decide to just hate on the idea because it came from him. Obama instructed government agencies to provide workers with the flexibility to take time off to care for sick family members, to take breaks to nurse, and to telecommute when necessary without running the risk of punishment. Business sense does not only come from having a master’s in Business. You have to have common sense. Deciding against something just because you hate a person is not profitable for the company, especially when you know they are right. If President Obama was not Black, he would not get this much push back from Congress on everything he tries to do. They coined the phrase Obamacare, but are you telling me white people have not gained anything with the passing of this? President Obama explained how this is a family issue. “At a time when women are nearly half of our workforce,” Obama said. “Anything that makes life harder for women, makes life harder for families, and makes life harder for children. There’s no such thing as a women’s issue. This is a family issue. This is an American issue.” This American issue will help many households with their finances and keeping their bills inline while being able to enjoy their newborn baby. If you don’t know what the law is, it certainly is possible that you can miss out on rights that are legally yours. The two most notable laws protecting pregnant women are the Pregnancy Discrimination Act and the Family and Medical Leave Act. The Pregnancy Discrimination Act, which was passed in 1978, gives pregnant women the same rights as others with “medical conditions” by prohibiting job discrimination. The Family and Medical Leave Act, passed in 1993, apply to companies employing 50 or more people within a 75-mile radius of the workplace. It says that if you have been employed for at least one year by the company you now work for, and work at least 25 hours a week, you can take up to 12 weeks of unpaid, job-protected leave in any 12-month period for the birth of your baby. Make sure you get educated on your rights so, when it comes time to stand up for them, you know what you are working with. Until next week, make sure you ‘mind your business.’

Follow me on twitter at @jimmywadeiii

Write Wade at the Call & Post, 11800 Shaker Blvd., Cleveland, OH 44120, or e-mail him at jwade@call-post.com. Comments and questions are welcome but, because of the volume of mail, personal responses are not always possible. Please note that comments or questions may be used in a future column.