Why Paid Leave Makes Economic Sense (May 27, 2015)
By Jane Eisner
I remember the first time I was confronted with an employee’s request for maternity leave. I was in charge of the features department of The Philadelphia Inquirer, and a talented reporter told me she was pregnant and planned on taking leave for several months. On the outside, I expressed the appropriate joy and congratulations. On the inside, I screamed: WHAT?? You can’t leave for that long!! How will I manage without you?
The fact that I had done the same thing, three times, to a series of editors was forgotten in that moment. All I could imagine was an empty desk and the terror of not knowing whether its occupant would ever fill it again.
I relate this story because, as the campaign for paid family leave is picking up adherents in Washington and finally showing some real success among Jewish not-for-profits, I want you to know that I get it. I know what it’s like to ask others to work extra hard to compensate for an absent employee. I know what it’s like to have that awkward conversation with the new mom who has decided reluctantly to stay home and not return to work, after you’ve kept her job open for months.