piad maternity leave, grandparents paid leave, build back better

A grandmother holding her newborn grandchild.

Most grandparents play an important role in helping their families when their children welcome a new child into the world.

Grandparents can be called on to watch over the family’s older children while their parents care for the newborn in the hospital. They also may have to run errands, take care of pets or stop by the house and watch the newborn so the new parents can get some much-needed rest.

For many grandparents, this involves traveling across the country and taking time off work to support their growing families. Becoming a new grandparent means taking on a whole host of responsibilities. However, we never hear about grandparents getting paid leave to help their families.

Saga, a U.K. travel and insurance company for the over-50s, is showing support for the grandparents who work at their company by offering a week of paid leave to celebrate the birth of a grandchild.


“This is about helping new grandparents celebrate a special moment and play a role in growing families from day one,” said Jane Storm, the chief people officer at Saga. “It is also a symbol of how important older workers are to their companies and society.

“Our customers are mostly over 50 and we want to have more colleagues here that reflect the community we serve,” Storm continued. “We also think this idea should be a key attraction for retention and recruitment.”

In addition to getting a week off, all grandparents will have access to the company’s onsite nursery in Folkestone, Kent. While the new company policy is a wonderful gesture for their older employees, for some, having time off for their grandchildren is a practical concern.

In the U.K. about 40% of grandparents aged over 50 provide regular childcare for their grandchildren.

“Embracing family-friendly working practices makes business sense,” said Justine Roberts, the founder of the online community Gransnet. “Employers who recognize the fact that their employees have relationships and responsibilities outside of work will reap the rewards of increased loyalty and staff wellbeing.”

Americans have to be shaking their heads at how far Europeans have progressed when it comes to paid family leave. The U.S. has no federal law granting paid family leave. In fact, in the U.S. only 21% of workers have access to paid family leave through their employers.

In the U.K., Statutory Maternity Leave grants new mothers up to 39 weeks of paid leave. For the first six weeks, they are paid 90% of their average weekly earnings. And for the next 33, they are eligible for £151.97 ($204) a week or 90% of their average weekly earnings, whichever amount is lower.

Four weeks of paid leave were added to the Biden Administration’s Build Back Better bill in early November. However, the bill’s fate is now in jeopardy after losing the tie-breaking vote of Democratic West Virginia senator Joe Manchin. Manchin said that he wouldn’t vote for the Build Back Better bill last Sunday on Fox News citing inflation worries.

Leah Menzies/TikTok

Leah Menzies had no idea her deceased mother was her boyfriend's kindergarten teacher.

When you start dating the love of your life, you want to share it with the people closest to you. Sadly, 18-year-old Leah Menzies couldn't do that. Her mother died when she was 7, so she would never have the chance to meet the young woman's boyfriend, Thomas McLeodd. But by a twist of fate, it turns out Thomas had already met Leah's mom when he was just 3 years old. Leah's mom was Thomas' kindergarten teacher.

The couple, who have been dating for seven months, made this realization during a visit to McCleodd's house. When Menzies went to meet his family for the first time, his mom (in true mom fashion) insisted on showing her a picture of him making a goofy face. When they brought out the picture, McLeodd recognized the face of his teacher as that of his girlfriend's mother.

Menzies posted about the realization moment on TikTok. "Me thinking my mum (who died when I was 7) will never meet my future boyfriend," she wrote on the video. The video shows her and McLeodd together, then flashes to the kindergarten class picture.

“He opens this album and then suddenly, he’s like, ‘Oh my God. Oh my God — over and over again,” Menzies told TODAY. “I couldn’t figure out why he was being so dramatic.”

Obviously, Menzies is taking great comfort in knowing that even though her mother is no longer here, they can still maintain a connection. I know how important it was for me to have my mom accept my partner, and there would definitely be something missing if she wasn't here to share in my joy. It's also really incredible to know that Menzies' mother had a hand in making McLeodd the person he is today, even if it was only a small part.

@speccylee

Found out through this photo in his photo album. A moment straight out of a movie 🥲

♬ iris - 🫶

“It’s incredible that that she knew him," Menzies said. "What gets me is that she was standing with my future boyfriend and she had no idea.”

Since he was only 3, McLeodd has no actual memory of Menzies' mother. But his own mother remembers her as “kind and really gentle.”

The TikTok has understandably gone viral and the comments are so sweet and positive.

"No the chills I got omggg."

"This is the cutest thing I have watched."

"It’s as if she remembered some significance about him and sent him to you. Love fate 😍✨"

In the caption of the video, she said that discovering the connection between her boyfriend and her mom was "straight out of a movie." And if you're into romantic comedies, you're definitely nodding along right now.

Menzies and McLeodd made a follow-up TikTok to address everyone's positive response to their initial video and it's just as sweet. The young couple sits together and addresses some of the questions they noticed pop up. People were confused that they kept saying McLeodd was in kindergarten but only 3 years old when he was in Menzies' mother's class. The couple is Australian and Menzies explained that it's the equivalent of American preschool.

They also clarified that although they went to high school together and kind of knew of the other's existence, they didn't really get to know each other until they started dating seven months ago. So no, they truly had no idea that her mother was his teacher. Menzies revealed that she "didn't actually know that my mum taught at kindergarten."

"I just knew she was a teacher," she explained.

She made him act out his reaction to seeing the photo, saying he was "speechless," and when she looked at the photo she started crying. McLeodd recognized her mother because of the pictures Menzies keeps in her room. Cue the "awws," because this is so cute, I'm kvelling.

A simple solution for all ages, really.

School should feel like a safe space. But after the tragic news of yet another mass shooting, many children are scared to death. As a parent or a teacher, it can be an arduous task helping young minds to unpack such unthinkable monstrosities. Especially when, in all honesty, the adults are also terrified.

Katelyn Campbell, a clinical psychologist in South Carolina, worked with elementary school children in the aftermath of the Sandy Hook shooting. She recently shared a simple idea that helped then, in hopes that it might help now.

The psychologist tweeted, “We had our kids draw pictures of scenery that made them feel calm—we then hung them up around the school—to make the ‘other kids who were scared’ have something calm to look at.”



“Kids, like adults, want to feel helpful when they feel helpless,” she continued, saying that drawing gave them something useful to do.

Keep Reading Show less

It can be hard to find hope in hard times, but we have examples of humanity all around us.

I almost didn't create this post this week.

As the U.S. reels from yet another horrendous school massacre, barely on the heels of the Buffalo grocery store shooting and the Laguna Woods church shooting reminding us that gun violence follows us everywhere in this country, I find myself in a familiar state of anger and grief and frustration. One time would be too much. Every time, it's too much. And yet it keeps happening over and over and over again.

I've written article after article about gun violence. I've engaged in every debate under the sun. I've joined advocacy groups, written to lawmakers, donated to organizations trying to stop the carnage, and here we are again. Round and round we go.

It's hard not to lose hope. It would be easy to let the fuming rage consume every bit of joy and calm and light that we so desperately want and need. But we have to find a balance.

Keep Reading Show less