Paid Leave Should Value All Care and All Families (June 16, 2017)

By Amber Halbert

I worked in the service industry for many years. Five years ago when my son was born, I had a C-section and was allowed 6 weeks to heal. The time was unpaid. I had some complications but work put a lot of pressure on me. They told me they really needed me back after 5 weeks and could only guarantee me I would have a job, but not necessarily a shift. I needed the pay and went back even though I wasn’t yet healed and missed the bonding time both my son and I needed from breast feeding. When my son was 4 months old, I woke up with a fever so high I had blisters on my face. I was rushed to the hospital, where I was told I had a blood infection that would have killed me had I not come in. My doctors said I had put too much stress on my body.

Now I’m part owner of a construction company. I want my employees to be able to bond with their families, take care of themselves or a sick loved one. I believe the family bond is stronger than anything we’re doing work wise. Time with family at these crucial times not only helps the family, but also the community.

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