Job Training and Support Services In-The-News: Week of January 26, 2016

Weekly Roundup of the news on women and supportive services in job training programs.

By Rachel Linn

Job training can provide an entry into family-sustaining jobs and careers. Many women in job training programs, however, face obstacles to success. Wraparound services—such as child care assistance, access to public benefits, and transportation or housing assistance—can help adults, particularly those with caregiving responsibilities, to complete programs that will ultimately improve their economic standing. 


January 27, 2016

PBS NewsHour: The only girl in school to spark an interest in welding

“The bigger picture is, why aren’t there more women going into welding or why aren’t there more women going into manufacturing,” said Rude. “From day one, women are fed the story of pink and princess,” she added. “It’s definitely a false representation of individuality.”

Watch more stories of students challenging gender stereotypes, part of our series called Outside the Box.

January 27, 2016

Lowell Sun (MA): Task force tackling underemployment

At a meeting of the governor’s Task Force on Persons Facing Chronically Higher Rates of Unemployment on Monday, Baker announced that his administration would invest $5 million of his fiscal 2017 budget into targeting chronically high unemployment. The breakdown of those funds will include $2 million to create an Economic Opportunity Fund, for investing in community-based organizations who partner with businesses to offer job training and hiring opportunities for people who face employment barriers…

Gregg Croteau, UTEC’s executive director, who was appointed to the task force when it was formed last March, told The Sun on Tuesday that his organization is “really optimistic” that Baker’s budget will include funding for helping people re-entering society after incarceration. “This Economic Opportunity Fund is really well-crafted in the sense that it also recognizes there’s a need for the supportive services as well,” Croteau said, including child care, transportation and help with substance-abuse issues.

January 26, 2016

Education Week (blog): Workforce Training Programs Should Consider Equity, Acting Ed. Secretary Says

States, communities, school districts, non-profits, and the federal government need to make sure equity is the watchword for implementation of the Workforce Investment and Opportunity Act. That was the message John B. King Jr., the acting U.S. Secretary of Education, delivered Tuesday to the Workforce Opportunity and Investment Act national convening, a conference of 700 state leaders and other organizations working to implement the new law.

King is hoping that job training facilities, community colleges, and adult-education providers will think about the needs of English-language learners, minority students, low-income students, students with disabilities parents, and other “nontraditional” students as they implement WIOA, which generally governors job training programs.

He urged job training programs, post-secondary institutions, and other adult education providers to think about potential barriers students might face in completing their training or degree, such as lack of access to child care or transportation.

January 22, 2016

EvoLLLution (an online newspaper on higher education): Community Colleges and the New Workforce Development Ecosystem

By Darlene Miller, Executive Director, National Council for Workforce Education

Finally, to address the personal barriers and challenges faced by so many students, community colleges must improve their partnerships with local community-based organizations. Nonprofits are well-equipped to provide case management and strong support systems to help students overcome barriers and challenges. Through high-quality education programming, providing a range of academic and non-academic support services, and employer engagement strategies to ensure the partnership meets the demands of local industries, these types of partnerships are able to leverage institutional capacities and resources to ensure student success

January 21, 2016

Duluth News Tribune: Program aims to help people land better-paying jobs

The program has been dubbed Connect Forward, and it will build on five years of work at a Financial Opportunity Center operated by Community Action Duluth and funded primarily by $885,000 already funneled through LISC, to date.

Miller pledged that her organization will assist 150 people through the program in the coming year. She said Community Action provides accessible evening classes twice a week, with coaching, child care and food available on site.

Marissa Jackson came to Community Action Duluth in March 2014 as a young single parent living in her parents’ home. She said staff members helped her create a budget and locate affordable housing, but employment difficulties have been difficult to overcome.

“Finding a job for a single mom is hard, especially when you don’t have child care support,” she said. “Jobs in my field, which is working as a personal care assistant, can be challenging because they often involve working nights and weekends.”

January 21, 2016

Industry Week: Leadership Lab Gives Women in Manufacturing a Boost

The national trade group Women in Manufacturing, along with Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, today announced the creation of a Leadership Lab for Women in Manufacturing. The training program will provide executive education and training to its members in mid- to high-level management roles in manufacturing careers.

January 20, 2016

Costal Courier: Georgia missing a chance to strengthen its workforce

By Melissa Johnson, a policy analyst for the Georgia Budget and Policy Institute

While most adults who rely on cash and food assistance in Georgia lack any education beyond high school, not enough of the state’s workers are trained for so-called middle-skill jobs. Middle-skill jobs require more than a high school diploma but less than a four-year degree.

A new Georgia Budget and Policy Institute report shows how the state could better leverage the potential of safety net programs Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) and Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program Employment and Training (SNAP E&T) to build a more skilled workforce. Using these initiatives to educate Georgians with low incomes would have long-term benefits for the state.

To view more of IWPR’s research, visit

Why paid leave in DC would be more affordable than you think

by Heidi Hartmann, Ph.D.

At a hearing on January 14, the D.C. City Council heard from a number of researchers who testified about the estimated cost of implementing the proposed Universal Paid Leave Act of 2015. By allowing up to 16 weeks of paid leave, D.C.’s proposal is very generous—by U.S. standards—and has attracted national attention. The researchers’ cost estimates ranged from $281 million to upwards from $1 billion annually.  Why such a large range? As is often the case with economic analysis, the devil is in the details, or more specifically, the assumptions.

The Institute for Women’s Policy Research (IWPR) estimated the cost would be at the low end, $280.8 million, affordable enough to be covered by less than one percent of payroll. IWPR’s testimony was based on an economic model that has been developed across 15 years and is the only estimate presented to the D.C. Council that relies on the best available data on who takes leave and for how long.

The higher estimates from the other researchers—who have expertise on taxes and regional business,  not paid leave—fail to take age, gender, and income sufficiently into account. As a result, they assume that many more workers would take leave and would take substantially more leave under the DC program than they do now. These are not reasonable assumptions.

First, let’s consider who will take leave through the public program. Almost every employee at some point in his or her work life experiences an extended own illnesses, the serious illness of a loved one, or the birth or adoption of a child, but typically not all in the same year and certainly not every year. In a single year, about 11 percent of District workers take some form of leave. Around two-thirds of leaves currently taken in DC are for one’s own illness; one in four leaves are to care for other family members; and, perhaps surprisingly, the lowest share of leaves taken (13 percent) are maternity and bonding leaves. We estimate the number of these leaves will increase under the Council’s program, but not drastically.

The proposed DC bill provides full wage replacement for workers earning less than $52,000 per year, and partial wage replacement for higher earners. Importantly, nearly half of DC workers have earnings over $52,000 and would receive less than full wage replacement; they may look to their employers, not the program, for the full wage replacement to which they have become accustomed.

Next, researchers must make a reasonable assumption for how long worker leaves will be under the new program. IWPR’s model predicts a moderate increase in the length of leave—from 3 weeks to 4 weeks at the median—again, not a drastic increase. Half of workers taking leave would be expected to take 4 weeks or less.

While the proposed bill increases access to paid leave, especially to low-wage and part-time workers, job protection for taking leave would still not cover those employed by smaller establishments with fewer than 20 employees. Rhode Island, which recently implemented paid leave, found that over 40 percent of leave takers said they would not have used the program were it not for the job protection, indicating how highly workers value the right to return to their jobs.

There are many other reasons for workers not to take the full leaves for which they are eligible, including the reluctance to fall behind at work and the desire to advance in their career. Research on paid sick days has shown that, even when workers report that they have paid sick days, the typical worker misses only two days of work in a given year.

The final assumption to consider is crucial: what will men do when offered paid leave? Men are half of the city’s potential leave-taking workforce. If men are offered greater access to paid leave, will they take it—and take the full amount—to bond with a new child or to care for a sick relative? In the first ten years of California’s paid family leave program, men’s proportion of leaves taken for family reasons climbed from 17 percent in 2005 to 30 percent in 2013. In Norway, where leave is nearly fully paid and taking leave is less stigmatized, only 21 percent of fathers took the maximum that was available to them in 2012.

Perhaps one of the most unrealistic assumptions made when estimating the costs of paid leave is that we live in a world where men are equally as likely as women to take leave for caregiving. By guaranteeing paid leave for all workers, we may get there one day.

Heidi Hartmann, Ph.D., is the president and founder of the Institute for Women’s Policy Research, a DC-based think tank. She is an economist and received a MacArthur Fellowship for her work on women in the workforce.

To view more of IWPR’s research, visit

Examining the Intersections Between Gender, Urbanization, and Democratic Governance

By Haley Nolan and Lindsey Reichlin

With two-thirds of the world’s population predicted to live in urban areas by the year 2050, the global landscape is changing rapidly. Reviewing existing literature and data across a range of fields, authors Lindsey Reichlin, IWPR Research Associate and Program Manager, and Elyse Shaw, IWPR Research Associate, examined the experiences of women in urban settings in Gender, Urbanization, and Democratic Governance, a white paper commissioned by the National Democratic Institute (NDI) and released in June 2015. The paper, which incorporates feedback from an expert roundtable of former policymakers, development practitioners, academics, and researchers, explores the gendered experiences of city inhabitants and discusses how increasing women’s voice and agency in urban governance, policymaking, and planning can help distribute the benefits of urban living more equitably.

IWPR’s research found that urbanization, while associated with increased access to social, economic, and political opportunities, is also characterized by persistent gender norms and lacking social infrastructure to support women’s needs. Urban women face distinct challenges from those faced by their male counterparts, including unequal access to education, vulnerability to gender-based violence, deficient labor and legal protections, constrained urban mobility, and a division of labor which holds women responsible for the majority of unpaid domestic work and family care. These challenges contribute to the persistent exclusion of women from urban decision-making processes and political inner circles.

The white paper emphasizes the importance of increasing women’s representation in urban decision making, highlighting the utility of mechanisms such as labor unions,
grassroots women’s movements, digital technologies and social media, voter engagement, and gender quotas for bringing women’s issues and women’s voices into the spotlight. The paper also highlights the need for improved and expanded sex-disaggregated data that can better inform city development.

To view more of IWPR’s research, visit

Job Training and Support Services In-The-News: Week of January 11, 2016

Weekly Roundup of the news on women and supportive services in job training programs.

By Rachel Linn

Job training can provide an entry into family-sustaining jobs and careers. Many women in job training programs, however, face obstacles to success. Wraparound services—such as child care assistance, access to public benefits, and transportation or housing assistance—can help adults, particularly those with caregiving responsibilities, to complete programs that will ultimately improve their economic standing. 

January 15, 2016

Industry Week: Lifting Families Out of Poverty and Into Advanced Manufacturing Careers (By Dr. Anne M. Kress, President, Monroe Community College, Rochester, N.Y.)

ACCESS: Whether it’s owning a car or paying bus fares, transportation is a significant cost to families that are already struggling to make ends meet. Similarly, the cost of child care may prevent a single parent from pursuing a college education. And individuals who are holding down jobs while going to college might not have enough time to get from work to class.

To remove these barriers, MCC offers training programs in city neighborhoods. We have partnered with community groups such as the Ibero-American Action League, a dual-language human services agency that serves Hispanic residents, to offer educational opportunities right in the communities that would benefit from them most.

To help with child care, we partner with community providers to provide services and have secured state grants to offset costs for students.

January 9, 2016

The Auburn Citizen (Auburn, NY): Palmer: How Employment Pathways helps Cayuga County-area people in poverty find jobs

Employment Pathways is a new program administered by Cayuga/Seneca Community Action Agency and located at Cayuga Community College Cayuga Works Career Center.

The agency has partnered with the Cayuga County Department of Social Services, Cayuga Works Career Center, Cayuga Community College, Cayuga-Onondaga BOCES and several local employers, including TRW Automotive, to address barriers to obtaining and/or retaining employment within our community. Some of the barriers include education, training and/or soft skills deficits, unreliable or no transportation, child care and housing issues, and the shortage of living wage jobs. This collaborative effort engages public, private and nonprofit sectors to connect people in poverty with the community resources necessary to travel the pathway to economic stability.

To view more of IWPR’s research, visit

Spotlight: Student Parents in the News

By Rachel Linn


Student parents have been gaining visibility in recent months among the media, funders,
and policymakers. In August, presidential candidate Hillary Clinton released her higher
education proposal, which highlighted the importance of child care for student parent success, and included a significant increase in funding for the Child Care Means Parents in School (CCAMPIS) program. IWPR’s fact sheets—“4.8 Million College Students are Raising Children” and “Campus Child Care Declining Even As Growing Numbers of Parents Attend College” —have been cited in coverage of the proposal. News outlets used IWPR research and interviewed experts to draw attention to the “invisible population” of college students with children, particularly the need for accessible and affordable childcare options. Social media was also abuzz with the topic of student parents, as IWPR partnered with the Young Invincibles to host a tweet chat about the barriers these students face and policy solutions that encourage postsecondary success as part of Young Invincibles’ popular #MillennialMon series.

In addition to increased visibility in the media, two new major campaigns have recently been launched by the W.K. Kellogg Foundation and the Lumina Foundation, both with a strong emphasis on supporting low-income parents in college. With a total investment of $11.6 million, the W.K. Kellogg Foundation launched two new pilot programs—Supporting Transitions to Employment for Parents (STEPS) and Mobility and Opportunity for Valuable Employment by Upskilling Parents (MOVE UP)—to help families across the United States increase workforce mobility and achieve economic security.

The Lumina Foundation’s Today’s Student campaign, which features IWPR’s research on student parents, targets credential attainment among all students, including students that may be older, enrolled in alternative educational options, or have limited time due to employment or dependent children. IWPR Vice President and Executive Director Barbara Gault spoke on a panel at the release event for the Foundation’s campaign, held in the U.S. Senate on September 17.

Press highlights on student parents:

-IWPR Vice President and Executive Director Barbara Gault authored an op-ed published by the Council for Advancement and Support of Education, about the importance of child care to student parents as part of her Public Voices Fellowship with The OpEd Project (September 18, 2015).

-Danielle Paquette from The Washington Post cited IWPR’s research on student parents and interviewed Research Associate Lindsey Reichlin in “This simple addition to college campuses could cut costs for a quarter of undergrads” (August 10, 2015).

-Politico cited IWPR Status of Women in the States research on proportion of family income spent on child care in “Clinton Wants to Expand Grants, Services for Parents Who Attend College” (August 14, 2015).

-The Atlantic cited and linked to IWPR reports and research on student parents in “Single Moms and Welfare Woes: A Higher-Education Dilemma” (August 18, 2015).

-National Journal cited IWPR research on student parents and quotes Research Associate Lindsey Reichlin in “Why Hillary Clinton Faces Steep Hurdles in Helping Student Parents” (August 20, 2015).

– Today cited IWPR research on the number of college campuses with child care in “Should Babies be in the Classroom? One Mom’s Fight to Bring Her Daughter to Class” (September 24, 2015).

To view more of IWPR’s research, visit

Job Training and Support Services In-The-News: Week of January 4, 2016

Weekly Roundup of the news on women and supportive services in job training programs.

By Rachel Linn

Job training can provide an entry into family-sustaining jobs and careers. Many women in job training programs, however, face obstacles to success. Wraparound services—such as child care assistance, access to public benefits, and transportation or housing assistance—can help adults, particularly those with caregiving responsibilities, to complete programs that will ultimately improve their economic standing. 

January 5, 2016

The Desert Sun: Coachella Valley Adult School expands services

The adult school leveraged its limited state and federal funding by partnering with County Welfare and Workforce Development programs, dozens of nonprofit organizations and several colleges/ universities and career training programs to help advance the lives of its students. In November, the California Department of Education awarded the Coachella Valley Adult School $457,453 through its Adult Education Block Grant Program to expand and enhance its adult education services. These additional funds are being used to expand and enhance adult education in the east valley including the elimination of educational barriers for students who were unable to attend school because of cost, transportation, or child-care responsibilities. These funds will also be used to establish and enhance career pathways for students seeking employment and opportunities for an increase in wages.

January 4, 2016

Logan Banner (West Virginia): Until FERC approval, 1,000s of pipeline jobs just potential

Workforce development, Gov. Tomblin said, has been a top priority. The Governor hosted the state’s first Workforce Summit in 2015 and, in October, announced an additional $7.6 million in federal funding from the U.S. Department of Labor to help coal miners affected by layoffs and mine closures take advantage of job training and career. The grant funding provides tuition assistance – up to $5,000 – for classroom and online skills training, supports 25 on-the-job training positions and provides meal, travel and child care allowances for both miners and their families.

January 4, 2016

Bryan County News: Workforce legislation may increase Georgia’s economic opportunity (by Melissa Johnson, a policy analyst for the Georgia Budget and Policy Institute)

Expand access to support services. The federal legislation explicitly allows local workforce-development boards to provide support services and need-based payments to help people to go about their lives while they receive training. Help with child care, transportation and housing is crucial to a person’s ability to participate in training.

Georgia can combine state and federal resources to provide added support services so more people can participate in training. The state can also provide technical assistance to communities to combine various federal funding sources for support services and optimizing their delivery. This could include providing child care at certain hours or particular forms of transportation assistance.

January 3, 2016

Lansing State Journal: McDonald: Michigan’s workforce, future depend on degrees

The faculty and staff of Michigan’s higher education institutions welcome the research, goals, and recommendations outlined in the report: “Reaching for Opportunity: An Action Plan to Increase Michigan’s Postsecondary Credential Attainment.”

The report provides specific recommendations to improve the access and success of adult and other non-traditional students entering higher education institutions.

Career and personal counseling are also critical to these students, as are other support services such as: child care, flexible class schedules, and faculty mentoring in addition to instruction. Many of today’s students have work and family responsibilities and very modest incomes.

December 31, 2015

Duluth News Tribune: Economic expert’s view: Duluth needs solution to worker shortage

Record low unemployment rates mask one of the major opportunities in local workforce development. For many underrepresented populations, unemployment rates are still very high. Often, these populations experience barriers to employment that prevent them from entering the workforce. These barriers include but are not limited to a lack of education, a lack of training, access to transportation, criminal backgrounds and a lack of access to child care. In order to develop our local workforce we must begin to address some of the most prevalent barriers to employment so individuals who want to enter the workforce can do so.

December 23, 2015

Womens eNews: ‘Pre-Apprentice’ Programs Can Break Open Jobs for Women (by Katie Spiker, a federal policy analyst for National Skills Coalition. She is a graduate of Georgetown University Law Center and a 2015 Ford Public Voices Fellow.)

As an advocate in this area I have also seen with my own eyes how these programs help participants gain skills and confidence and move them along to jobs that transform their own lives and those of their families.

These programs offer training and support services that can put women on the right track to apprenticeship. It could mean basic computer science exposure for someone who may not have had the course in school, and needs it for an IT certificate. It could also mean support figuring out the best way to manage child care for a working mother, or physical fitness training to ensure the woman standing at a computerized numerical control, or CNC machine, has the endurance to do so.

December 18, 2015

San Francisco Chronicle: JobTrain puts low-income people on path to sustainable employment

JobTrain, a 50-year-old nonprofit that grew out of the Civil Rights movement, still focuses on economic equality through a combination of job training, academics and life skills to help disadvantaged people be self-sufficient.

Support takes a lot of forms. Case managers meet individually with each student. Child care, a wellness facility and access to assistance with food and transportation are all offered on site.

This year, JobTrain created a for-profit company to provide on-the-job training for its students. Wise SV (Workforce Integration Social Enterprise), a joint venture with social enterprise CalSo, operates Rendezvous Cafe & Catering in Redwood Shores. It may add manufacturing and staffing components in the future.

To view more of IWPR’s research, visit

Pioneering Research on the Costs and Benefits of Paid Family Leave

By Jeff Hayes, Ph.D.

Since its founding, IWPR has studied the costs and benefits of American workers’ access to leave for childbirth, personal health needs, or family caregiving. IWPR’s inaugural publication, Unnecessary Losses: Costs to Americans of the Lack of Family and Medical Leave  showed that by not recognizing the need for work-life balance, established policies not only failed to support workers and their families, but were costly to taxpayers. The study’s findings informed the passage of job-protected, unpaid leave in the Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993.

Expanding beyond unpaid leave, IWPR studied the possibility of providing paid family leave by enhancing Temporary Disability Insurance (TDI) programs operating in California, Hawaii, New Jersey, New York, and Rhode Island in a fact sheet describing the program and in a paper presented at the American Economic Association in 1995. Since that time, three states—California, New Jersey, and Rhode Island— have implemented paid family leave expansions.


More recently, IWPR worked in conjunction with the Labor Resource Center (LRC) at the University of Massachusetts–Boston to develop a flexible econometric model for estimating the costs and benefits of paid family and medical leave insurance proposals. The original IWPR/LRC Family and Medical Leave Cost Simulation Model used data from the U.S. Department of Labor’s (DOL) 2000 FMLA survey and the March Current Population Survey (CPS), and incorporates the unique features of various proposed programs, from waiting periods to eligibility criteria. This IWPR/LRC model has been used to estimate the costs and benefits of proposed paid family leave legislation in several states: Massachusetts, New Mexico, Maine, Maryland, Illinois, Minnesota, and Washington.

This year, the model was used by IWPR to study the costs and benefits of paid leave in the District of Columbia in collaboration with D.C.’s Department of Employment Services. The analysis was part of a recent family of studies funded by the Women’s Bureau at the U.S. DOL to inform the development or implementation of paid family and medical leave programs at the state level. The research continues to show that providing leave benefits under alternative policy designs could provide substantial benefits at relatively low cost. Early results were used by members of the D.C. City Council for a proposal to provide up to 16 weeks of partially paid leave for employees of private employers in the District of Columbia and allow D.C. residents working for the federal government or employers outside of the District to opt in. The legislation, if it passes, could be the most generous paid leave policy in the country.

Beginning in 2014, IWPR and IMPAQ International have been working under contract with the Department of Labor’s Office of the Assistant Secretary for Policy, Chief Evaluation Office to update the IWPR/LRC simulation model to base leave-taking behaviors on the 2012 FMLA survey and the American Community Survey (ACS) for local labor force estimates. The larger sample size in the ACS provides greater geographic detail than what is available in the CPS for studying family and medical leave proposals in states, counties, or cities. Furthermore, the additional data available in the ACS on place of work allows for greater focus on the analysis of costs and benefits to employers in local areas considering policy changes.

Moving forward, IWPR, under federal and state research contracts, will be using the updated Family and Medical Leave Cost Simulation Model to study leave policies in Minnesota, New Hampshire, Montgomery County, MD, and the expansion of Rhode Island’s Temporary Caregiver plan.

To view more of IWPR’s research, visit

President’s Message: Fall 2015

By Heidi Hartmann

It has been a great year for IWPR. Among many report releases, strong press coverage, and great exposure in the popular media, I want to particularly share with you my excitement at the new era that has begun in the struggle to attain paid parental leave in the United States. From President Obama’s 2015 State of the Union speech to the 2016 presidential candidates from both parties, the call for paid parental leave has come to the fore. While one candidate attacked the need for any legislation guaranteeing such policies (claiming that employers that find it important to their business will do it on their own), many candidates have supported the call for paid parental leave policy at the federal level, although most have not yet issued detailed plans. Never before has paid family leave been addressed so prominently in these venues.

I am very proud to say that IWPR’s dogged work since the mid-1990s to present paid family leave as a realistic option for the United States is finally paying off. As noted in Jeff Hayes’ opening article in this newsletter, IWPR first highlighted the use of state Temporary Disability Insurance (TDI) programs—which already covered a woman’s pregnancy, delivery, and recovery—as vehicles for paid family care leave in a paper presented in 1995 at the annual meetings of the American Economic Association. We followed that up with a fact sheet in 1996 describing the five existing state TDI programs. California was in fact the first of these states to adopt paid family care leave, built upon their TDI program, in 2002; IWPR staff members had traveled to Sacramento to present findings on more than one occasion. More recently, New Jersey in 2008 and Rhode Island in 2013 have joined California in expanding their TDI programs to provide paid benefits for family care leave, typically four to six weeks and all paid for by workers through payroll tax deduction.

Currently, the District of Columbia is one of several local and state jurisdictions that is actively exploring how to establish a new paid leave program without a TDI system to build upon. The District won one of four competitive grants offered by the Women’s Bureau, U.S. Department of Labor, to enable research on feasibility, and the District contracted with IWPR for assistance with its analysis. This year, the Women’s Bureau awarded eight grants and IWPR is expecting to work with four of the winning jurisdictions.

The Women’s Bureau grants seemed to have started an avalanche as several other states are spending their own funds on feasibility studies for paid family leave. For sure, an avalanche began in the tech industry as firms competed with one another to offer family leave. As reported by Elle, Netflix started it by offering up to one year paid leave; Microsoft then offered 12 paid weeks for family care, in addition to 8 for maternity disability. Adobe Systems then announced an expansion of maternity leave from 17 to 26 weeks and a doubling of fathers’ time off from 2 weeks to 4 weeks. Amazon responded to all this with 20 weeks off for pregnancy including 4 weeks prepartum and up to 6 weeks off for fathers. Finally, Spotify now gives up to 6 month off with pay anytime from 2 months before birth to a child’s third birthday. Of course, firms with highly skilled talent are more likely to make such an investment, but Facebook also requires its contracting firms (providing services such as food and cleaning among other services) to provide parental leave or a lump sum of $4,000 in lieu of paid leave. Mark Zuckerberg, founder and CEO of Facebook, is currently taking a two month leave after the birth of his family’s first child. Policies and practices such as these dramatically change the climate in favor of change at a national level. It is an international embarrassment that 183 countries have paid parental leave and only the US—along with Papua New Guinea—does not (according to the International Labour Organization).

Should the current discussion on national security leave any room and the issue of family leave reverberate in the presidential election in 2016, change could happen much more quickly than is commonly expected. IWPR’s work will be central to the action! Stay tuned.

To view more of IWPR’s research, visit