Blog

Rep. Ocasio-Cortez: Moms Can Pump Breast Milk, Feed Babies, Use ‘Play Mats + Cribs’ in My Office

Craig Bannister
By Craig Bannister | May 10, 2019 | 1:39 PM EDT

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (Screenshot)

“We work to be a pro-family workplace,” Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) declared Friday, launching a series of tweets outlining her office policies for new mothers and fathers.

Ocasio-Cortez says new mothers who work for her are welcome to bring their babies to work, are provided play mats and cribs, and are welcome to use her personal office to pump breast milk and feed their babies:

“We make an effort to make our office family-friendly. We talk about what play mats + cribs we need along w/ our legislative agenda. My personal office can be used for pumping/feeding. Staff can bring their babies to work if they like & we are working to prepare to have them.”

Ocasio-Cortez says that all new parents – moms, dads, biological or those who adopt – get six weeks of paid leave that they can use whenever they want. “They don’t have to take all 12 weeks at once,” she said. Instead, they can use a few days each week and “bank 3 weeks for later in the year.”

The congresswoman also claims that, by not giving new dads the same paid paternity leave as moms, companies are “contributing to the pay gap,” though she did not explain her reasoning:

“Equal pay at work is about SO much more than the salary you offer. If you give dads less paid parental leave than moms, you’re contributing to the pay gap. If you see pregnancy or family as a workplace obstacle, you’re contributing to the pay gap.”

   

“Lastly,” Ocasio-Cortez said in her final tweet on the subject, she welcomes suggestions on how she can make her office more accommodating to new parents on her staff:

I’d like to share another “unusual” (but shouldn’t be) part of my office policy w/ you all: Parental Leave! Three members of our small team are expectant or new parents in the first 6 mos of my term. In my office, *every* new parent receives 3 mos paid leave - including dads.

A few notes on our approach:

  1. Expecting a child has nothing to do with our hiring decisions, & we do everything we can to accommodate. That’s supposed to be law, but there are small ways (incl self-selection) where it can play a role. We work to be a pro-family workplace.
  2. Paid parental leave applies to ALL new parents, period. Moms, dads, parents; biological or adopted. If you’ve got a new child, you get 12 weeks to spend adjusting your family to this huge transition.
  3. Our 12 weeks parental leave is up to the parent on how they want to use that time. They don’t have to take all 12 weeks at once - for example, they can take 5 weeks off and work 2 days a week to transition in; bank 3 weeks for later in the year, etc. /4
  4. I want to reiterate how important it is to give dads full parental leave. I strongly encourage them to take the full time. I’ve heard the “normal” paternity leave is 2 weeks. That is NOT okay! As my partner says: “What do employers expect those new moms to do? Walk it off?”
  5. Equal pay at work is about SO much more than the salary you offer. If you give dads less paid parental leave than moms, you’re contributing to the pay gap. If you see pregnancy or family as a workplace obstacle, you’re contributing to the pay gap.
  6. We make an effort to make our office family-friendly. We talk about what play mats + cribs we need along w/ our legislative agenda. My personal office can be used for pumping/feeding. Staff can bring their babies to work if they like & we are working to prepare to have them.
  7. Additionally, paying a living min wage to our most junior staffers means they’re talented + capable (no 2nd job) to take over big-time situations, meaning senior staffers are confident enough in them to take parental leave and not feel like everything will fall apart.
  8. This is convo is bigger than parental leave - it’s a larger conversation about how modern work has grown so hostile to family life. It doesn’t have to be that way! Work + family can go together, but we have to break down the barriers that force people to choose between them.

Lastly, if anyone has recommendations for baby gear that folds up nicely or tips on how to prep a workplace for little ones, please give me your recs! If you’re a new mom/parent + could bring your babies / kids to work, what would help that? What would you want to see?

 

Sponsored Links