There is still no guarantee of a full family income during leave time taken off the job, and during the months after, twenty years after President Bill Clinton signed the Family and Medical Leave act into law on February 5, 1993. Injured workers too often have to count out time off without pay.
Even San Diegans with common back strain and broken ankle injuries can not keep up their standard of living. fathers, and mothers, who have a new born son or daughter also face financial pressure to keep working, and not take time to bond with their child.
Workers at the city and county offices know the FMLA routine. Twelve weeks of leave. Unpaid. But, does the law give workers a real opportunity to take leave, not just a legally protected opportunity.
A model work and family policy gives all employees a real opportunity to sign up for leave, no matter ho much of a family's living money the worker will not earn during the time off. Guaranteed leave means leave a worker with a family can count on taking.
Finances can not continue to stand in the way of workers who have a reason to take time off.
Congress has given military families an opportunity to signup for leave and care for their military spouse, for up to 26 weeks, and the county has followed their lead and out the legal guarantee in the law. Recent rulemaking done at the end of the twentieth year has expanded coverage for those families supported by a family member working a military job. But, the lack of pay leaves the income troubles unsettled.
Taking the offer is still too easy to refuse. For any worker. The price paid in missed earnings is too high.
The leave policy is often too rigid. Too inflexible. County workers can not always get a typical paid vacation as good as the vacation they agreed on. Paid days must get used to take FMLA leave.
San Diego Unified School District does not make the district's teachers generous offers teachers can stay ready to take that are better than the options the law makes clear public workers deserve.
New mayor Bob Filner has said the footing San Diego's working families stand in will get better. Everyone will have to live through troubles until the leave options are in hand.
For now, employers can choose their own high road. UCSD offers employees who go on military leave health benefits that continue through a 30 day pay status period, or longer until the end of six months if a worker can pay for benefits while on unpaid leave, and they offer 30 day short term disability for those injured but not able to work.
Employees who work for Scripps Healthcare are given full opportunities to take paid leave. The major San Diego employer has its own paid time off workers can count on to take time off and keep up their income while healing form an injury or spending time with a child. Even the serious work injuries do not do too much damage to the work earnings. Employees can ask for paid short term disability and get pay during their time off. FMLA leave does not have to get used unless an employee asks for a leave of absence. The weeks then make taking leave without any compromises easy.
President Obama told America on the twentieth anniversary day lat Tuesday we stand at high place, a "groundbreaking step forward, "from the place the country's working families were in in 1993. FMLA leave has been taken over 100 million times by 35 million men and women. Political work done to give Americans full opportunities to balance work and family has started again. The president has not given up on the efforts to expand FMLA to guarantee "more workers can meet their responsibilities to themselves and their families without jeopardizing their livelihood."
Giving San Diegans, and the rest of American workers, leave they can cont on taking and pay for their bills is simple.
Pass a law on making paid leave an option, with flexibility on the leave package an employee can use, to make the group of workers who take family leave and medical leave when a need comes up a full house. Employees can store up extra savings they can use for leave by using payroll deductions. All workers in California already save for paid family leave by giving the state a payroll deduction. Employers can ask their employees to plan ahead and save one paycheck at a time, and either take leave, or get paid out the amount deducted.
Workers could then breath a sigh of relief while taking care of their health, or their family, and cash in. Guaranteed.
A firm colorful examination on truth.
This article is a telling commentary for Post Edition, an every other Wednesday collection of pure citizen voice. The other Wednesdays are days for developing news, called Open Commitments.
To read earlier telling commentary, read
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