Unfinished Business: Paid Family Leave in California and the Future of U.S. Work-Family Policy

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Overview

Unfinished Business documents the history and impact of California's paid family leave program, the first of its kind in the United States, which began in 2004. Drawing on original data from fieldwork and surveys of employers, workers, and the larger California adult population, Ruth Milkman and Eileen Appelbaum analyze in detail the effect of the state’s landmark paid family leave on employers and workers. They also explore the implications of California’s decade-long experience with paid family leave for the ...

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Unfinished Business: Paid Family Leave in California and the Future of U.S. Work-Family Policy

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Overview

Unfinished Business documents the history and impact of California's paid family leave program, the first of its kind in the United States, which began in 2004. Drawing on original data from fieldwork and surveys of employers, workers, and the larger California adult population, Ruth Milkman and Eileen Appelbaum analyze in detail the effect of the state’s landmark paid family leave on employers and workers. They also explore the implications of California’s decade-long experience with paid family leave for the nation, which is engaged in ongoing debate about work-family policies.

Milkman and Appelbaum recount the process by which California workers and their allies built a coalition to win passage of paid family leave in the state legislature, and lay out the lessons for advocates in other states and localities, as well as the nation. Because paid leave enjoys extensive popular support across the political spectrum, campaigns for such laws have an excellent chance of success if some basic preconditions are met. Do paid family leave and similar programs impose significant costs and burdens on employers? Business interests argue that they do and routinely oppose any and all legislative initiatives in this area. Once the program took effect in California, this book shows, large majorities of employers themselves reported that its impact on productivity, profitability, and performance was negligible or positive.

Unfinished Business demonstrates that the California program is well managed and easy to access, but that awareness of its existence remains limited. Moreover, those who need the program’s benefits most urgently—low-wage workers, young workers, immigrants, and disadvantaged minorities—are least likely to know about it. As a result, the long-standing pattern of inequality in access to paid leave has remained largely intact.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"I believe the book is required reading for anyone who wants to understand and overcome the challenges to implementing successful work-family policies in the United States. As the authors suggest in their title, considerable unfinished business remains both in California and in the nation as a whole."—Candace Howes, ILRReview (May 2014)

"Unfinished Business adds depth to our knowledge about how to craft and implement a new social insurance program that addresses the needs of today's families. Ruth Milkman and Eileen Appelbaum have conducted extensive quantitative and qualitative research that illuminates the effects of California's Paid Family Leave program on families, workers and employers. This is an important book and a must read for anyone who cares about making sure that everyone has time to care for themselves and their loved ones."—Heather Boushey, Chief Economist, Center for American Progress, coeditor of The Shriver Report: A Woman's Nation Changes Everything

"Unfinished Business is a deeply informative exploration of the strengths and weaknesses of the most effective state-sponsored paid family leave program in the United States. Lucidly written in nontechnical language, this book provides realistic plans for moving forward. It should be required reading for everyone concerned with work-family issues."—Alice Kessler-Harris, R. Gordon Hoxie Professor of History, Columbia University

"Ruth Milkman and Eileen Appelbaum provide a perceptive and lively account of the passage, implementation, and impact of the United States' first paid family leave law, passed in California in 2002. Unfinished Business assesses the initial decade of this landmark law, revealing a complex mix of success and disappointment: employers have reacted more positively than expected but the equalization of access to paid leave has not come to pass. The authors’ keen observations about the economics and politics of the policy process will compel a diverse audience of academics and advocates, as well as policy practitioners working at both the state and national level."—Janet Gornick, coauthor of Families That Work: Policies for Reconciling Parenthood and Employment

"Unfinished Business is an important and timely book: important, since the United States is the only advanced economy that does not guarantee workers access to any form of paid leave. And timely, with the December 12, 2013 introduction of The Family and Medical Insurance Leave Act, or FAMILY Act of 2013 by Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-CT) and Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) to establish a national paid family and medical leave program. This book will surely be a valuable contribution to the ongoing and upcoming debates."—Gail Pesyna, Vice President, Program Management, The Alfred P. Sloan Foundation

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780801478956
  • Publisher: Cornell University Press
  • Publication date: 11/5/2013
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 168
  • Sales rank: 1,303,860
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 8.90 (h) x 0.60 (d)

Meet the Author

Ruth Milkman is Professor of Sociology at the CUNY Graduate Center and Academic Director of CUNY's Murphy Labor Institute. She is the author of several books, including the prizewinning Gender at Work and L.A. Story: Immigrant Workers and the Future of the U.S. Labor Movement. She is the coauthor of Unfinished Business, editor of Organizing Immigrants, and coeditor of New Labor in New York: Precarious Workers and the Future of the Labor Movement, Rebuilding Labor, and Working for Justice, all from Cornell.

Eileen Appelbaum is Senior Economist at the Center for Economic and Policy Research. She is coauthor of Unfinished Business, Manufacturing Advantage, and The New American Workplace, all from Cornell.

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Table of Contents

Acknowledgments
1. Introduction: The Case for Paid Family Leave
2. The Politics of Family Leave, Past and Present
3. Challenges of Legislative Implementation
4. Paid Family Leave and California Business
5. The Reproduction of Inequality
6. Conclusions and Future Challenges
Methodological Appendix
Notes
References
Index

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Customer Reviews

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 20, 2014

    Dawnspot's Biography

    Name: Dawnspot.<br>Date She Was Born: 5-8-13.<br>Gender: Female.<br>Mate: None.<br>Kits: Adoptive, [&male] Twilightkit.<br>Mother: Wispleap.<br>Father: Blueclaws.<br>Sister: Truelight.<br>Brother: Duststorm.<br>Half-Brother: Darkflare.<br>Looks: She is several colors, like the sky at dawn or dusk. Her eyes are a deep, odd blue, and she's very small and delicate.<br>Song: 'Lonely Lullaby' by Adam Young. (Or at least some of it.)<br>Personality: Shy, sad, quiet, cautious.<br>History: As a kit she had feelings for Tigerkit, but never able to express them. She was always the one that stayed back in the nusery. She and Truelight had a horrible relationship growing up. When she becamed a warrior, she adopted a kit named Twilightkit, whom she loved dearly, but he disappeared. She trained Darkflight, all the while Lightningspirit was in love with her. He disappeared, and she took a different path in her life. She died while out in the forest. No one's sure what happened to her, but signs point to she drowned in a bog.<br>Random Trivia:<br>•She became a Medicine Cat at one point.<br>•She wasn't mentored by a medicine cat, so she had to learn by herself.<br>•She doesn't believe in StarClan.<br>•She's the runt of her litter.<br>•She hates none, but loves few.<br>•She wants to fix everyone's mistakes, and she's the kind that would gladly give up her happiness for some else's.<br>Other: Merr....

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