Working parents and caregivers have just been given legal protection in New York City.

Being someone's caregiver is like having a second job. So you shouldn't have to worry about losing your first.

In 2014, Kashawna Holmes was fired from her job at a senior companion care program in Washington, D.C., for taking time off to have her baby.

Due to complications, Holmes' doctor ordered her to go on bed rest nearly three months before her due date. Despite filling out the necessary paperwork, and despite D.C. having a law protecting pregnant workers on the job, Holmes found an email on her phone terminating her position.


Kashawna Holmes with her son. Photo by Sarah L. Voisin/The Washington Post via Getty Images.

"I was completely devastated, in shock. I felt that was supposed to be the happiest time, I was so excited about having my son,” she told the Washington Post. Instead, she had to seek help from a nonprofit and spend time and money on a lawsuit fighting for her rights.

Her employers stated that her one-year appointment to the position had ended, but Holmes knew there was funding for her position for the following year because she had prepared the audit herself.

Caring for someone else's well-being shouldn't come at the cost of your own. But for caregivers, it often does.

The fear of being fired is the unfortunate reality for millions of people who provide direct and ongoing care for their children or other family members.

Caregivers, the majority of whom are women, spend significant time tending to the needs of those who rely on them, like small children, disabled family members, or senior citizens who require home care.

Caring for someone else's well-being shouldn't come at the cost of your own. But for caregivers, it often does.

Holmes is one of the thousands of women every year who lose their jobs on maternity leave or to other caregiver duties.

A law protecting caregivers would have recognized the urgency and specific needs of Holmes' situation, and protected her. While some companies like Holmes' try to find ways around these laws, having them on the books gives unlawfully terminated employees the legal ability to fight back.

Thankfully, caregivers in New York City will soon get this protection.


A bill protecting caregivers is awaiting New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio's signature. Photo by Andrew Burton/Getty Images.

Lawmakers in New York City have recognized that when workers have more flexibility for their families, everyone benefits.

For example, instead of having to risk her job, a single mother could take necessary time off to care for her child — and herself — and be protected by the law. Or a man who works full time but lives with his elderly father who needs regular doctor visits and home care can take time off without being penalized to take his father to the doctor.

Also, as more and more baby boomers age and enter retirement, the amount of senior citizens requiring home care will grow rapidly.

The number of senior citizens in New York City is expected to increase by 35% in the next 20 years. Photo from iStock.

A new law passed on Dec. 16, 2015, will make caregivers a protected class in New York City.

New York City has already made efforts to protect the job rights of individuals regardless of race, sexual orientation, and age, and now caregivers can enjoy that same legal protection.

The law defines a caregiver as "a person who provides direct and ongoing care for a minor child or a care recipient." It's good news, especially for women who do a disproportionate amount of caregiving (an estimated 66%). In fact, the bill is largely being touted as a victory for the progress of women.

This new law protects people's rights to spend time caring for their loved ones without having to worry about losing their jobs. The bill aims to make New York City a better place for women and for anyone dedicating their time to the well-being of someone else.

This is a positive step toward solving an important problem, especially for New York City.

In fact, the bill's opening paragraph says it best:

"In the city of New York, with its great cosmopolitan population, there is no greater danger to the health,morals, safety and welfare of the city and its inhabitants than the existence of groups prejudiced against oneanother and antagonistic to each other because of their actual or perceived differences."

Caregivers are New York City's mothers, fathers, sons, and daughters. They shouldn't have to worry about losing their jobs while they are essentially doing a second job for free. Now, they don't have to. That's a good thing.

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Should a man lose his home because the grass in his yard grew higher than 10 inches? The city of Dunedin, Florida seems to think so.

According to the Institute of Justice, which is representing Jim Ficken, he had a very good reason for not mowing his lawn – and tried to rectify the situation as best he could.

In 2014, Jim's mom became ill and he visited her often in South Carolina to help her out. When he was away, his grass grew too long and he was cited by a code office; he cut the grass and wasn't fined.

France has started forcing supermarkets to donate food instead of throwing it away.

But several years later, this one infraction would come back to haunt him after he left to take care of him's mom's affairs after she died. The arrangements he made to have his grass cut fell through (his friend who he asked to help him out passed away unexpectedly) and that set off a chain reaction that may result in him losing his home.

The 69-year-old retiree now faces a $29,833.50 fine plus interest. Watch the video to find out just what Jim is having to deal with.

Mow Your Lawn or Lose Your House! www.youtube.com

Cities

The world officially loves Michelle Obama.

The former first lady has overtaken the number one spot in a poll of the world's most admired women. Conducted by online research firm YouGov, the study uses international polling tools to survey people in countries around the world about who they most admire.

In the men's category, Bill Gates took the top spot, followed by Barack Obama and Jackie Chan.

In the women's category, Michelle Obama came first, followed by Oprah Winfrey and Angelina Jolie. Obama pushed Jolie out of the number one spot she claimed last year.

Unsurprising, really, because what's not to love about Michelle Obama? She is smart, kind, funny, accomplished, a great dancer, a devoted wife and mother, and an all-around, genuinely good person.

She has remained dignified and strong in the face of rabid masses of so-called Americans who spent eight years and beyond insisting that she's a man disguised as a woman. She's endured non-stop racist memes and terrifying threats to her family. She has received far more than her fair share of cruelty, and always takes the high road. She's the one who coined, "When they go low, we go high," after all.

She came from humble beginnings and remains down to earth despite becoming a familiar face around the world. She's not much older than me, but I still want to be like Michelle Obama when I grow up.

Her memoir, Becoming, may end up being the best-selling memoir of all time, having already sold 10 million copies—a clear sign that people can't get enough Michelle, because there's no such thing as too much Michelle.

Don't like Michelle Obama? Don't care. Those of us who love her will fly our MO flags high and without apology, paying no mind to folks with cold, dead hearts who don't know a gem of a human being when they see one. There is nothing any hater can say or do to make us admire this undeniably admirable woman any less.

When it seems like the world has lost its mind—which is how it feels most days these days—I'm just going to keep coming back to this study as evidence that hope for humanity is not lost.

Here. Enjoy some real-life Michelle on Jimmy Kimmel. (GAH. WHY IS SHE SO CUTE AND AWESOME. I can't even handle it.)

Michelle & Barack Obama are Boring Now www.youtube.com

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via EarthFix / Flickr

What will future generations never believe that we tolerated in 2019?

Dolphin and orca captivity, for sure. They'll probably shake their heads at how people died because they couldn't afford healthcare. And, they'll be completely mystified at the amount of food some people waste while others go starving.

According to Biological Diversity, "An estimated 40 percent of the food produced in the United States is wasted every year, costing households, businesses and farms about $218 billion annually."

There are so many things wrong with this.

First of all it's a waste of money for the households who throw out good food. Second, it's a waste of all of the resources that went into growing the food, including the animals who gave their lives for the meal. Third, there's something very wrong with throwing out food when one in eight Americans struggle with hunger.

Supermarkets are just as guilty of this unnecessary waste as consumers. About 10% of all food waste are supermarket products thrown out before they've reached their expiration date.

Three years ago, France took big steps to combat food waste by making a law that bans grocery stores from throwing away edible food.According to the new ordinance, stores can be fined for up to $4,500 for each infraction.

Previously, the French threw out 7.1 million tons of food. Sixty-seven percent of which was tossed by consumers, 15% by restaurants, and 11% by grocery stores.

This has created a network of over 5,000 charities that accept the food from supermarkets and donate them to charity. The law also struck down agreements between supermarkets and manufacturers that prohibited the stores from donating food to charities.

"There was one food manufacturer that was not authorized to donate the sandwiches it made for a particular supermarket brand. But now, we get 30,000 sandwiches a month from them — sandwiches that used to be thrown away," Jacques Bailet, head of the French network of food banks known as Banques Alimentaires, told NPR.

It's expected that similar laws may spread through Europe, but people are a lot less confident at it happening in the United States. The USDA believes that the biggest barrier to such a program would be cost to the charities and or supermarkets.

"The logistics of getting safe, wholesome, edible food from anywhere to people that can use it is really difficult," the organization said according to Gizmodo. "If you're having to set up a really expensive system to recover marginal amounts of food, that's not good for anybody."

Plus, the idea may seem a little too "socialist" for the average American's appetite.

"The French version is quite socialist, but I would say in a great way because you're providing a way where they [supermarkets] have to do the beneficial things not only for the environment, but from an ethical standpoint of getting healthy food to those who need it and minimizing some of the harmful greenhouse gas emissions that come when food ends up in a landfill," Jonathan Bloom, the author of American Wasteland, told NPR.

However, just because something may be socialist doesn't mean it's wrong. The greater wrong is the insane waste of money, damage to the environment, and devastation caused by hunger that can easily be avoided.

Planet

The world is dark and full of terrors, but every once in a while it graces us with something to warm our icy-cold hearts. And that is what we have today, with a single dad who went viral on Twitter after his daughter posted the photos he sent her when trying to pick out and outfit for his date. You love to see it.




After seeing these heartwarming pics, people on Twitter started suggesting this adorable man date their moms. It was essentially a mom and date matchmaking frenzy.

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