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WATERBURY — Most Americans agree that family comes first. Regardless of where one works or what their home Zip Code is, everyone should be able to welcome a new child, care for an ailing parent, or heal from cancer without facing financial disaster.
Weaving powerful stories together with insightful interviews from leading policymakers, economists, researchers, and activists, the award-winning documentary Zero Weeks lays out a compelling argument for guaranteed paid leave for every American worker.
A free screening of the film will be offered at Silas Bronson Library, 267 Grand Street, on Tuesday, January 23, at 5:30 pm. Seating is first come, first served.
Recent reports show that only 14 percent of private sector workers in the United States reported having paid family leave through an employer; fewer than 40 percent have personal medical leave through an employer-provided temporary disability program.
Because 44 percent of American households do not have enough savings to cover their basic expenses for three months, families are often forced to choose between taking time off to care for a partner or parent with an unexpected medical emergency or continuing to work so that they can keep their job and health insurance.
The crisis is just as bleak for new mothers. Nearly one in four mothers return to work within two weeks of having a baby. Without the protections of paid leave, new mothers are 40 percent more likely to need food stamps or public assistance.
Ky Dickens, the director of Zero Weeks, says more than ever, America needs to keep pushing the conversation about equality in the workplace.
“We can not have equality in the workplace until there is equality at home, especially in the realm of caregiving,” said Ms Dickens. “The more our society supports and embraces men taking off to caregive, the more space women have to excel and succeed in their careers.
“Women are penalized for taking breaks from their careers to care for an aging parent, sick family member, or new baby,” she continued. “Paid leave is essential to gender and racial equality and I hope can open eyes and hearts to this problem and the solutions.”
Zero Weeks premiered at Camden International Film Festival, DOC NYC Film Festival, and Portland Film Festival. The film won Best Documentary at International Women’s Film Festival, Best Editing at Colorado International Film Festival, and a Focus Award for Achievement in Directing from Women in Film.
The trailer can be viewed and additional information about the film is available at zeroweeks.com.