Monday, March 28, 2011

Thoughts on the Department of Labor's Dialogue on Workplace Flexibility

On November 10, 9to5 Atlanta staff attended the Department of Labor’s “National Dialogue on Workplace Flexibility” at Emory University.  Sponsored by the Department of Labor Women’s Bureau, the forum focused on flexible workplace options in the health care industry and highlighted health care businesses that offer commendable family-friendly policies.  Women’s Bureau Director Sara Manzano-Diaz spoke to the attendees about the importance of flexible policies for not just women but all working families: “Ensuring that our nation’s workers are able to balance their work and home lives without worry that they will lose their jobs is critical to our economic success as a country.”

Legislation supporting flexible workplace options that 9to5 Atlanta is actively working towards include: The Healthy Families Act which would guarantee all qualifying workers the chance to earn up to seven paid sick days per year; and a state law in Georgia allowing workers who receive sick leave to use that time off to care for a family member as well as themselves.

Beth English, Executive Director of Easter Seals of Southern Georgia and member of the Georgia Job/Family Collaborative Steering Committee, wrote the following about the benefits of attending this exceptional event:
“My participation in the National Dialogue on Workplace Flexibility was well worth the drive up from south Georgia.  The networking opportunities with other women concerned with making the workplace a family-friendly environment were wonderful.  The presentations were eye-opening.  In fact, our organization is exploring several of the programs that were highlighted and are planning to implement several of the practices that are not currently part of our operations.

“Working with over 2,400 families that are caring for loved ones with special needs has made Easter Seals very sensitive to employment practices that allow sick leave to be used for immediate family members.  Our policies have always included that type of flexibility.  Easter Seals looks forward to working with the Georgia Job Family Collaborative in continuing to advocate for workplace flexibility.”
Photo: Beth English

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