Balancing the demands of job and family is a tremendous challenge for working people today. Under the current rules it's often insurmountable.
More women with children work than ever before. A majority of children have no one at home full-time to care for them, while others, including the elderly and people with disabilities, increasingly need care. People who must work to provide for their families increasingly find themselves torn in two directions. When serious illness or a family emergency arises, they face a painful choice between caring for children, parents, spouses and partners or showing up of work and earning a day's pay. Meanwhile, many businesses find it hard to recruit, train, and keep skilled workers.
Something needs to be done—and the problem is just too big for people to solve by themselves. It's time for workers, business and government to come together to create a winning situation for everyone.
New Jersey took a big step forward in May 2008 when Family Leave Insurance legislation was signed into law, but there is still more that can be done. In addition to Family Leave Insurance, New Jersey’s working families need earned sick days to care for themselves or a child or relative when illness strikes or to attend routine medical appointment; and they need a few hours each year to attend a child's school event or participate in a parent-teacher conference or other school activity.
Everyone benefits when workers are able to balance job obligations and family needs. Giving workers financial security by allowing them to take paid leave to deal with their own illness, a child's illness, or a parent's recovery from a stroke not only improves outcomes for children families, but also raises worker morale and productivity. Paid "time to care" means strong families, strong workplaces, and strong communities.