By: Faith Winter
I’m a state legislator, often working long hours at the Capitol in Denver. I’m a wife and mom, often working long hours at home here in Westminster, too. I know I am not alone. I salute the moms who balance picking kids up for swim lessons, sending the right gift on the right day for teacher appreciation week, packing a healthy peanut-free lunch — all while kicking butt at work.
On this Mother’s Day, to every hard-working mom out there, I say: I am with you, I am standing up for you every day. I know how hard you work and how much you love your children.
As one of the few mothers with young children in the Legislature, I have focused my attention on the laws affecting women in the workplace and the need for proactive policies, especially those affecting mothers.
Women are increasingly central to our modern economy, and most women in the workplace are supporting children and families. So it’s time to have modern work standards that match our current workforce. More moms are working full-time than any other time in history, and more households are headed by single mothers than at any other time in history.
While times have changed, work policies are still stuck in the past, when working moms were few and far between. We need to update work standards to ensure that women can be full, successful participants in the work force, as well as loving mothers.
It is time for politicians and the business community to create workplaces that allow workers to both be responsible employees and responsible family members.
In response to antiquated policies and “bad actors,” I am leading the charge for new laws to guarantee that women have full and fair opportunities to succeed. My priority is to give working women the opportunities, equality and freedom they need, both while pregnant and parenting.
I recently championed a Pregnant Workers Fairness Act that will guarantee modest accommodations for pregnant workers. This family values policy has bipartisan support and will simply give pregnant women access to water, brief breaks and a place to sit down in the workplace. The bill is an important way to update work standards and stop anti-pregnancy discrimination.
I also want to ensure that no one has to choose between taking care of a family member and a paycheck. Last year, I sponsored the Family and Medical Leave Insurance (FAMLI) Program, which would give paid medical leave to all workers, allowing women to take time off when they, a child or a loved one gets sick. That bill was killed by politicians opposed to practical policies that help working women care for their families.
To create an incentive for businesses to offer family-friendly workplaces, I am working to pass the Colorado Family First Employer Act. This will be a pro-business program that publicizes and celebrates Colorado employers that meet certain workplace criteria, including large employers like Children’s Hospital and small employers like Lisa Goodbee’s engineering firm.
Lastly, I have been a leader in the effort to pass an equal pay bill/package that was killed by the Republican-led Senate. I will continue to fight for this legislation because I believe that men and women doing the same work deserve the same pay. I’m proud to sponsor several pay equity bills, including one that prohibits employers from asking job applicants for their salary history toensure that we do not perpetuate the income gap throughout a woman’s entire career.
It’s time to update work standards and ensure that moms can succeed at home, in the workplace and in their communities.
To all the moms out there, I see you and I am one of you.
I understand the lack of sleep, the hopes and dreams you pour into your children, the sacrifices you make every single day. To you, I not only send my love, but know that every day at the Colorado Capitol I stand up for you and your children.