On Your Mark, Give Birth, Go Back To Work

Tricia Olson takes a selfie of herself and her son Augustus, or Gus, who sits in his car seat. Olson took three weeks of unpaid leave from her job at a towing company in Rock Springs, Wyo., after giving birth. Courtesy of Tricia Olson

Tricia Olson takes a selfie of herself and her son Augustus, or Gus, who sits in his car seat. Olson took three weeks of unpaid leave from her job at a towing company in Rock Springs, Wyo., after giving birth. (Courtesy of Tricia Olson)

On her first day back at work after giving birth, Tricia Olson drank copious amounts of coffee, stuffed tissues in her pocket, and tried not to cry. After all, her son Gus was just 3 weeks old.

Olson, 32, works for a small towing company and U-Haul franchise in Rock Springs, Wyo., and she could not afford to be away from work any longer.

“The house bill’s not going to pay itself,” she says, her voice breaking in an audio diary she kept as part of a series on the challenges facing working parents airing on NPR’sAll Things Considered.

Olson is one of just four employees she says are “like family,” and like many U.S. workers, she has no paid leave at all: not for vacation, not if she gets sick, and certainly not for parental leave.

Normally, she’s the only one in the office to take calls. Her boss agreed to fill in for her for three weeks after the delivery, but she says “even just that … makes me feel guilty.”

Olson is hardly alone in returning to work so early. But this is a uniquely American problem.

Ed. Note: It doesn’t have to be this way! The Washington Work and Family Coalition is working with champions in the legislature to craft a paid family and medical proposal for our state that we hope to pass in 2017. Join the cause here: http://bit.ly/2cQCLrz

Read more: NPR.org »

This entry was posted in Family Leave Insurance, Paid Family Leave on by .

About waworkfam

The Washington Work and Family Coalition includes representatives of seniors, women, labor, health professionals, children’s advocates, faith communities, low income workers, employers, non-profits and other organizations. We’re working together to make it easier for parents to raise healthy children and care for aging parents; for workers to care for themselves or their partners in the event of a serious illness; and for businesses to offer modern workplace standards that improve productivity and worker health.

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