The Healthy Mothers Workplace Coalition has helped improve the lives of thousands of workers by recognizing employers for their family-friendly policies. At our fifth annual awards ceremony on Oct. 16, the coalition honored 64 San Francisco employers and heard from numerous dynamic speakers, including pairs of employers and employees; state and local officials; and Boies Schiller Flexner partner Ann O’Leary, a former senior policy adviser to Hillary Clinton.
O’Leary recalled how long she and others at the ceremony have been fighting for supportive workplace policies for working families, particularly low-wage workers, and she applauded the recent progress in California with the passage of the New Parent Leave Act, which Gov. Jerry Brown signed just last week. It will expand job protection for parental leave to 2.7 million more workers in California.
San Francisco leaders who attended the ceremony included state Sen. Scott Wiener, who introduced the nation’s first fully paid parental leave law (while he was a member of San Francisco’s Board of Supervisors), and Supervisor Katy Tang, who introduced the city’s lactation accommodation law, which is the nation’s most comprehensive. Legal Aid at Work helped draft and championed both.
We are deeply grateful for the special support we received for the event from Mamava, maker of portable lactation spaces; Healthy Horizons, experts in workplace lactation; and the Child Care Law Center.
Here are key takeaways that several speakers offered to employers:
“Kids’ and parents’ needs shift; flexibility is as important as specific policies,” said Sarah Wigglesworth, board chair of nonprofit La Cocina.
“My advice would be: ‘Relax, it will work out,'” said Zack Rosen, co-founder and CEO of Pantheon. “There’s life pre-families, in a workplace, and there’s life after. And life with families is way, way better.”
“If a working mom or dad is coming back to you, it means they really care about doing a good job,” said Geetika Agrawal, senior programs manager at La Cocina.
For more from the speakers, and what people were saying on Twitter, read our Storify: