She had already declared that all her full-time staffers’ salaries would start at $52,000 thus freeing them from having to work second jobs just to pay the rent in expensive Washington DC. Interns would be paid $15 per hour plus benefits. She has now said that her staffers would also get three months full pay parental leave.
I’d like to share another “unusual” (but shouldn’t be) part of my office policy w/ you all: Parental Leave!
Three members of our small team are expectant or new parents in the first 6 mos of my term.
In my office, *every* new parent receives 3 mos paid leave – including dads.
— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@AOC) May 10, 2019
She goes on:
“Paid parental leave applies to ALL new parents, period. Moms, dads, parents; biological or adopted. If you’ve got a new child, you get 12 weeks to spend adjusting your family to this huge transition,” she wrote. “Our 12 weeks parental leave is up to the parent on how they want to use that time. They don’t have to take all 12 weeks at once – for example, they can take 5 weeks off and work 2 days a week to transition in; bank 3 weeks for later in the year, etc.”
“Equal pay at work is about SO much more than the salary you offer. If you give dads less paid parental leave than moms, you’re contributing to the pay gap. If you see pregnancy or family as a workplace obstacle, you’re contributing to the pay gap,” she tweeted, adding that her office allows parents to bring their kids to work and allows new parents to use her personal office for breast pumping and feeding new children.
These policies, she explained, are all part of an effort to promote a “pro-family workplace.” “We talk about what play mats + cribs we need along w/ our legislative agenda,” wrote Ocasio-Cortez.
What she is doing should be what all employers should be doing, and indeed is required by law in more enlightened countries. It is only in the US that it is seen as radical.
When I was teaching I occasionally had young mothers asking if they could bring their children to class if for some reason there was no school or their day care arrangements fell through. Of course I said yes. I have also allowed mothers to use my private office to nurse their infants because there was no place designated for that. These things seemed to me to be the least I could do within my power to accommodate genuine needs.