Monday, December 30th, 2013
Dreonna Breton, a Pennsylvania nurse, is alleging that she was fired from her job after refusing a flu shot because of concerns that the vaccine would cause her to suffer a miscarriage. CNN.com has more on the story, which emerged even as a growing number of states are reporting widespread flu activity to the CDC:
“I’m a healthy person. I take care of my body. For me, the potential risk was not worth it,” Dreonna Breton told CNN Sunday. “I’m not gonna be the one percent of people that has a problem.”
Breton, 29, worked as a nurse at Horizons Healthcare Services in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, when she was told that all employees were required to get a flu shot. The Centers of Disease Control and Prevention advises that all health care professionals get vaccinated annually.
She told her employers that she would not get the vaccine after she explained that there were very limited studies of the effects on pregnant women.
Breton came to the decision with her family after three miscarriages.
The mother of one submitted letters from her obstetrician and primary care doctor supporting her decision, but she was told that she would be fired on December 17 if she did not receive the vaccine before then.
Horizons Healthcare Services spokesman Alan Peterson told CNN affiliate WPVI that it’s unconscionable for a health care worker not to be immunized and that pregnant women are more susceptible to the flu.
The CDC website states that getting a flu shot while pregnant is the best protection for pregnant women and their babies.
Image: Pregnant woman about to get vaccine, via Shutterstock
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Wednesday, July 25th, 2012
Employers should allow grieving parents at least as much medical leave as they do to new parents, according to a campaign launched by two fathers who lost children. CNN.com reports on Barry Kluger, whose daughter was killed in a car accident in 2001, and Kelly Farley, another grieving father, who are pressuring lawmakers to amend the Family and Medical Leave Act to allow for grieving parents to have guaranteed leave from their jobs:
“You have 12 weeks off to have a child,” Kluger said, “but three days off when a child dies. It doesn’t make any sense.”
In summer 2011, after receiving letters from Montanans who had also signed Kluger’s initiative, Sen. John Tester, D-Montana, proposed the Parental Bereavement Act, which would amend the Family and Medical Leave Act to incorporate extended, job-protected leave for the loss of a child.
“The senator was struck by it and, like most people, surprised the law wasn’t already taken care of,” said a spokesman from Tester’s office. “We want to see it pass but we don’t have a lot of time left this year.”
The average bereavement leave for a person who loses a child is three days, according to Dr. Joanne Cacciatore, a researcher at Arizona State University and the founder of the MISS Foundation, which provides support to grieving families. Cacciatore has been studying the emotional, social, cognitive, and economic impact of child death on individuals, families and society for almost 20 years.
“The death of a child is one of the most traumatic experiences a human being can endure,” Cacciatore said. “I cannot express to you how incredibly devastating this is to people.”
Experts like Cacciatore explain that without giving parents sufficient time to grieve for their loss, companies and corporations will pay for it in the long run.
Researchers at the Grief Recovery Institute, a nonprofit foundation, measured how situations like death and divorce affect U.S. businesses. According to Russell Friedman, executive director of the institute, the current estimated annual loss due to reduced productivity as an aftereffect of grief is around $225 billion.
“When someone we love dies, we lose the ability to concentrate or focus,” Friedman said. “Your brain doesn’t work right when your heart is broken. That’s why businesses lose money.”
Three months for bereavement leave is a more realistic standard than three days, according to Cacciatore. After 12 weeks, “people are usually past the stage of being stunned and paralyzed by the loss,” she said. “Now they can understand what this loss means.”
Image: Grieving woman, via Shutterstock.
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Friday, November 11th, 2011
A new report based on census data found that 51 percent of working women who had their first child between 2006 and 2008 received some sort of paid leave (maternity, sick, or vacation) from their employers. This number was up from previous data, with only 42 percent of women receiving similar paid leave between 1996 and 2000.
The report, Maternity Leave and Employment Patterns of First-Time Mothers, 1961-2008, uses census data to follow trends in women’s work experience before and after they have children. Key findings from the report include:
- Women are more likely to work while pregnant than they did in the 1960s. Two-thirds (66 percent) of women who had their first birth between 2006 and 2008 worked during pregnancy, compared with 44 percent who had their first birth between 1961 and 1965.
- Eight out of 10 (82 percent) working women who had their first birth between 2006 and 2008 worked within one month of their child’s birth compared with 73 percent of working women who gave birth to their first child between 1991 and 1995.
- Older mothers are more likely than younger mothers to work closer to the end of their pregnancies. Sixty-seven percent of mothers 22 and older worked into the last month of their pregnancy, compared with 56 percent of mothers less than age 22.
- Four out of 10 (42 percent) women received unpaid maternity leave. Both paid and unpaid maternity leave were more likely to be used after birth than before.
- Twenty-two percent of first time mothers quit their jobs – 16 percent while they were pregnant and another 6 percent by 12 weeks after their child’s birth.
- Women who worked during their pregnancy are more likely to return to work within three to five months compared with women who did not work before the birth of their first child.
- Eight out of 10 mothers who worked during their pregnancy returned to work within a year of their child’s birth to the same employer. About seven out of 10 of these women returned to a job at the same pay, skill level and hours worked per week.
- Two out of 10 mothers switched employers when returning to work. These mothers experienced greater job changes compared with mothers who returned to the same employer. One out of four was employed at a new job that had comparable pay, skill level and hours worked.
(image via: http://blogs.babycenter.com/)
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