10 Policies that would Make the U.S. a Better Place for Caregivers

business meetingwith baby

When it comes to policies that support caregiving, the U.S. is far behind most industrialized countries in providing services and incentives to make it easier for women and men to be good caregivers as well as breadwinners.

Here are 10 polices we could implement that would help us catchup with the rest of the world:

1. Put in place procedures that reduce first-day deaths of new born babies. An estimated 11,300 babies die on their first day of life in the U.S., ranking America 68th in the world. It is unacceptable. Needed procedures include steroid injections for women in preterm labor, resuscitation devices for babies who can’t breathe at birth, cleaning solutions to prevent umbilical cord infections, etc.

2. Make paid maternity leave mandatory. Only half of U.S. first-time mothers get any paid leave. The United States, Swaziland, Lesotho and Papua New Guinea are the only countries in the world that do not provide this.

3. Make high quality, affordable day-care, either at the workplace or close by universal. In the United States, only 33% of children of working mothers are in such care, whether private or government funded.

4. Extend the Family and Medical Leave Act to cover all employees, not  just those who work in companies with 50 or more employees. (More than 40% of the American workforce currently has no protection under this act.)

5. Make flexible work schedules a right of all caregivers. Enlightened employers are finding flexible work schedules increase productivity, innovation and employee retention.

6. Allow both spouses to earn equal Social Security credits during their marriage to increase benefits for working and stay-at-home moms.

7. Offer work-related Social Insurance programs to all workers, including unpaid caregivers, thereby making them eligible for temporary unemployment compensation, job training, and worker’s comp if they become divorced or injured.

8. Provide universal pre-school for all 3 and 4 year olds.

9. Tax members of all married couple separately in line with their individual rather than joint rate.

10. Provide free health coverage for all children and their primary caregivers.

Editors note: This list was extracted from an article in the May 14, 2013 edition of The Atlantic Monthly, written by Ann-Marie Slaughter. If you care about these issue, we recommend you read the article. Here is the link.

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