The Better Work, Better Life Campaign was founded in 2009 by Advancing Women Professionals (AWP), an organization that seeks to expand professional opportunities for women in the organized Jewish community and advance their careers by promoting effective workplace policies. At the Campaign’s launch in 2009, a survey found that only 35 percent of Jewish organizations offered any paid parental leave. While Jewish organizations outpaced the national average – only 11 percent of Americans have access to paid leave through their employers – AWP challenged the Jewish community to do better.
“Of the organizations currently on the list of 100, there were very few that offered paid leave at the start of the campaign,” said AWP’s Founder and President Shifra Bronznick. “It took two years to persuade the first twelve organizations to adopt paid leave, and in the following four years, more than 90 additional Jewish organizations have adopted such policies. We were able to accomplish this because over time, we collected evidence that showed that paid leave was big enough to matter and small enough to achieve. We helped Jewish organizations understand that inflexible workplace policies blocked the advancement of women professionals and that changing the norm in the organized Jewish community would benefit everyone who works for us and influence national policy by demonstrating that progress is possible,” added Bronznick.
Paid parental leave policies offer paid time off for individuals and couples following the birth or adoption of a child. Research shows that these policies support families, boost productivity, improve retention and enhance employee loyalty. Many companies in the tech sector use generous paid leave as a competitive talent strategy, and the same is true for the nonprofit sector.
In the case of the Jewish community, paid leave also reflects deeply-held values around gender equality and resonates deeply with the achievements of Jewish-led movements for social justice, including heavily-Jewish garment worker unions that won victories of the 40-hour work week and workplace safety rules in the early 20th century. The Better Work, Better Life Campaign brought together Jewish organizations and leaders across the communal spectrum from Reform to Modern Orthodox to secular organizations in supporting paid parental leave.