In a 26.2 mile marathon, if I stopped at mile 13 for a while I would finish behind those that did not stop. The same is true for the career marathon. Today is Equal Pay Day and I feel one of the reasons there is a pay gap in the United States is that our policies do not reflect the need for employees to stop or just change pace during the 40+ years of a career.
Approximately 40% of working mothers in the US quit their jobs or turn down promotions to care for a family member. If a parent leaves the workforce, the chance of returning at the same or greater pay is slim to none. Equal Pay will come when we recognize personal and professional priorities change over a lifetime, and government and corporate policies should support these changes as best they can.
The International Labor Organization sets a standard of at least 14 partially paid weeks off for family leave, but according to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, only 13 percent of workers receive a “generous” 12 (unpaid) weeks to care for a new child. In 2012, the US was one of only three countries that does not mandate paid time for new parents (Papua New Guinea and Lesotho were the other two).
There are a few shining stars out there that lead the way in helping create healthy families and resilient workers. New Jersey, California, Rhode Island, and New York have all passed comprehensive family leave policies and The Gates Foundation, Amazon, and American Express have generous family leave policies for their employees. Does your company offer a great paid family leave program? Share it here or on LinkedIn so we can give them a big Social Media cheer. #EqualPayDay