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Analyzing family leave policy in the United States-from the role of the women's movement in the passage of paid leave to policymaking at the state level

Getting Paid While Taking Time

The Women's Movement and the Development of Paid Family Leave Policies in the United States

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Megan A. Sholar

"Getting Paid While Taking Time is a very refreshing book: timely, thoughtful, thorough, well-referenced, well-organized, and well-written. Sholar covers important and necessary historical details and captures the complexities of state government quite well. In addition, her coverage of the women activists groups, the challenges they faced, and the strategies they employed is new and important for readers to learn. This book represents a much-needed update on the status of paid leave in the United States."
Steven K Wisensale, Professor of Public Policy, Human Development and Family Studies at the University of Connecticut

The United States remains the only industrialized nation in the world that does not provide paid family leave at the national level for either men or women. In the more than two decades since the passage of the Family and Medical Leave Act, there have been numerous unsuccessful attempts to expand family leave benefits nationally. However, in the United States, it is common for innovations in family policies to arise at the state level.

In her timely book, Getting Paid While Taking Time, Megan Sholar explains the development of family leave policies at both the national and state levels in the United States. She provides cogent studies of states that have passed and proposed family leave legislation, and she pays special attention to the ways in which women's movement actors and other activists (e.g., labor unions) exert pressure on public officials to help influence the policymaking process. In her conclusion, Sholar considers the future of paid family leave policies in the United States and the chances for it ever equaling the benefits in other countries.

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Excerpt


Read an excerpt from the Introduction (pdf).

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Reviews

"Getting Paid While Taking Time investigates the puzzle of why the U.S. lacks a paid parental leave, being one of the few countries in the world without one. Examining both the state and national levels, and taking the long historical arc of policy-making into consideration, Sholar offers an original and persuasive account that shows how the women's movement has influenced these policies. Sholar marshals strong evidence and sheds new light on this vitally important policy area."
Kimberly J. Morgan, Professor of Political Science and International Affairs at the George Washington University

"Getting Paid While Taking Time focuses on a shameful aspect of American exceptionalism: the United States is the only industrialized nation without paid family leave for women or men.... Sholar foregrounds the history of the FMLA [Family and Medical Leave Act] in a nicely encapsulated summary of American women's labor history.... The book provides a nice template for telling a national history while also devoting attention to rich state-level case studies. Politicians, activists, and others interested in paid family leave stand to learn a lot from Sholar's comprehensive coverage of this important area of public policy."
Journal of American History

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Contents

Chapter 1: Women’s Movements and the Passage of Family Leave Policies
Chapter 2: The Passage of the National Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA)
Chapter 3: From the FMLA to the FAMILY Act: Family Leave Policy at the National Level since 1993
Chapter 4: Success in the States: Paid Family Leave in California, New Jersey, Rhode Island, and New York
Chapter 5: When Paid Family Leave Fails to Pass in the States: Washington, Oregon, Massachusetts, and Hawaii
Chapter 6: The Future of Family Leave in the United States

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About the Author(s)

Megan A. Sholar is a Lecturer in the Interdisciplinary Honors Program at Loyola University Chicago.

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Subject Categories

Political Science and Public Policy
Family Policy
Community Organizing and Social Movements
Labor Studies and Work
Women's Studies

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