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THESIS: American families will benefit from Family Security Insurance. STATEMENT OF SIGNIFICANCE: If your like me, you’re getting a college degree to not only provide your self with an income, but also to take care your family members in their times of need. STATEMENT OF CREDIBILITY: I have found through researching work and family in the United State’s, that we as a country are doing a poor job supporting parents, and I have found a policy that I believe would help. PREVIEW OF MAIN POINTS: First, we’ll examine why working families need a better safety net today than working families have in the past, second, we’ll take a look at how current laws are not doing enough to protect families from hardship in the current workforce, and finally, we’ll understand how a modest proposal will make a dramatic difference for the lives of American families.
I. Working families need a better safety net in today’s workforce. A. The problem is that today’s workplaces have not caught up with societal changes. 1.The work-life balance is getting increasingly harder for women because the current economic situation requires two earners. 2.Bankruptcy expert Elizabeth Warren stated that two-incomes are needed to make ends meet for middle class families in a 2006 article for the Social Science Research Council. B. This problem has the consequences that more children and women living in poverty. Elizabeth Warren’s 2003 book “The Two-Income Trap”, she states that having a child is now the single best predictor that a woman will end up in financial collapse. The US Census Bureau’s 2011 data show among women who head families, 4 in 10 lived in poverty (up from 38.5 percent in 2009). The child poverty rate, already high at 20.7 percent in 2009, jumped to 22.0 percent last year. More than half of poor children lived in female-headed families in 2010. C. This problem started when health insurance, middle class taxes and housing prices experienced a sharp increase, yet incomes remain flat.
1. Warren illustrates that there is a paradox, because families make more, yet have more money but less income to save. 2.The addition bump in income has placed families in a higher tax bracket giving them another financial burden. The cost of child care is another financial burden. D. This problem has the largest impact on middle class and poor families. 1.Joan C. Williams writes in her 2010 book “Reshaping the Work Family Debate” that many single mothers are one sick child away from being fired. 2. Elizabeth Warren points out that now, more children will live through their parents bankruptcy than their parents divorce.
TRANSITION: Now that I have shown you that working families need a better safety net, let me tell why today’s workplaces is placing families in a precarious position. II. Working families are going to workplaces where the current laws don’t do enough, and rules still represent the outdated society of the 1960s. A. The current law, Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) doesn’t go far enough. 1. Under the current Family and Medical Leave Act, parents are only offered legal protection from getting fired for taking a leave of absence to care for newborn or sick family members. 2. According to a 2010 report from Georgetown University Law Center and the University of California Berkeley, the FMLA protections reach only half the workforce because it excludes small businesses.
3. The FMLA provides protection for workers to take only unpaid leave, which many workers cannot afford. B. Few are advocating for changes in FMLA, so working mother’s often quit their jobs when they have a baby or there is a family crisis, which is making America fall behind in the global market place. 1. According to Edward E Gordan’s 2009 book “Winning the Global Talent Showdown” a lack of family friendly workplaces is causing a stampede of new mothers out the office door. 2. Gordon concludes that America’s inability to retain talented women is making America less competitive in a global economy. C. Working families today are still working under workplace norms from the 1960’s. 1. Joan C Williams notes that in the 1960, only 10 percent of mothers worked and only 10 percent of couples divorced. 2. Today, 70 percent of American children live households where both parents work and 40 percent of couples divorce.
3. Today, many families will end up in economic ruin if only one spouse works. TRANSITION: Finally, since the workplace norms and current laws have not caught up to our changing society, lets look at a policy that could provide some relief to families. III. Working families would benefit greatly from Family Security Insurance (F.S.I.) policy initiative co-authored by researchers at Georgetown University Law Center and the University of California at Berkeley in 2010. A. Family Security Insurance would provide paid leave to both men and women for health and care-giving reasons. The policy could be implemented by the State or Federal Governments The policy would pay a federal minimum wage for up to 18 weeks. a. This pay is taxable,
b. We could also provide baby bonus (appox. $5000.) to parents who don’t take the leave to offset the cost of child-care. c. This policy has already been implemented in Australia in 2010. B. Lew Daily of Newsweek, Aug 3rd, 2009 published 2007 study from McGill University found that out 173 America is “among the worst” for supporting families. 1.We stood with only Liberia, Swaziland, and Papua New Guinea as the only countries providing no paid maternity leave. 2. Of all the wealthy countries, excluding ours, parents are entitled to up to 47 weeks of maternity leave. 3. Australia’s 2011 Paid Leave Scheme is the most modest; least costly of all industrialized nations family leave acts. C. Some would argue that implementing a broader family leave act would hurt businesses.
1. A broader family leave act will lead to better business outcome. 2. It would retain talented workers who have families. Paid time off for sick employees would aid in full recovery causing less chronic conditions saving businesses money on healthcare. 4 Recent research at Georgetown University Law Center and U of C Berkeley found parents receiving paid leave to care for a new born came back to work afterward and were more productive overall. D. How to help Washington State lead the way with Family Security Insurance. 1. Write your congresswoman, Jaime Herrera Beutler, expressing your concern for the families of Washington’s 3rd district. 2. Raise awareness by talking to your friends and family. 3. Call your parents and say thank you for whatever choices they have made to get you here.
REVIEW OF MAIN POINTS: Today, we have first examined why working families need a better safety net in the current workplace, second we have looked at how the current laws are not doing enough to protect families in 2012 from financial hardship , and finally we understand how a modest proposal could go a long way toward making American families more secure.