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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.

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

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.

Images courtesy of John Scully, Walden University, Ingrid Scully
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Since March of 2020, over 29 million Americans have been diagnosed with COVID-19, according to the CDC. Over 540,000 have died in the United States as this unprecedented pandemic has swept the globe. And yet, by the end of 2020, it looked like science was winning: vaccines had been developed.

In celebration of the power of science we spoke to three people: an individual, a medical provider, and a vaccine scientist about how vaccines have impacted them throughout their lives. Here are their answers:

John Scully, 79, resident of Florida

Photo courtesy of John Scully

When John Scully was born, America was in the midst of an epidemic: tens of thousands of children in the United States were falling ill with paralytic poliomyelitis — otherwise known as polio, a disease that attacks the central nervous system and often leaves its victims partially or fully paralyzed.

"As kids, we were all afraid of getting polio," he says, "because if you got polio, you could end up in the dreaded iron lung and we were all terrified of those." Iron lungs were respirators that enclosed most of a person's body; people with severe cases often would end up in these respirators as they fought for their lives.

John remembers going to see matinee showings of cowboy movies on Saturdays and, before the movie, shorts would run. "Usually they showed the news," he says, "but I just remember seeing this one clip warning us about polio and it just showed all these kids in iron lungs." If kids survived the iron lung, they'd often come back to school on crutches, in leg braces, or in wheelchairs.

"We all tried to be really careful in the summer — or, as we called it back then, 'polio season,''" John says. This was because every year around Memorial Day, major outbreaks would begin to emerge and they'd spike sometime around August. People weren't really sure how the disease spread at the time, but many believed it traveled through the water. There was no cure — and every child was susceptible to getting sick with it.

"We couldn't swim in hot weather," he remembers, "and the municipal outdoor pool would close down in August."

Then, in 1954 clinical trials began for Dr. Jonas Salk's vaccine against polio and within a year, his vaccine was announced safe. "I got that vaccine at school," John says. Within two years, U.S. polio cases had dropped 85-95 percent — even before a second vaccine was developed by Dr. Albert Sabin in the 1960s. "I remember how much better things got after the vaccines came out. They changed everything," John says.

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via The Walt Disney Company / Flickr

One of the ways to tell if you're in a healthy relationship is whether you and your partner are free to talk about other people you find attractive. For many couples, bringing up such a sensitive topic can cause some major jealousy.

Of course, there's a healthy way to approach such a potentially dangerous topic.

Telling your partner you find someone else attractive shouldn't be about making them feel jealous. It's probably also best that if you're attracted to a coworker, friend, or their sibling, that you keep it to yourself.

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Courtesy of CeraVe
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"I love being a nurse because I have the honor of connecting with my patients during some of their best and some of their worst days and making a difference in their lives is among the most rewarding things that I can do in my own life" - Tenesia Richards, RN

From ushering new life into the world to holding the hand of a patient as they take their last breath, nurses are everyday heroes that deserve our respect and appreciation.

To give back to this community that is always giving so selflessly to others, CeraVe® put out a call to nurses to share their stories for a chance to be featured in Heroes Behind the Masks, a digital content series shining a light on nurses who go above and beyond to provide safe and quality care to patients and their communities.

First up: Tenesia Richards, a labor and delivery nurse working in New York City who, in addition to her regular job, started a community outreach program in a homeless shelter that houses expectant mothers for up to one year postpartum.

Tenesia | Heroes Behind the Masks presented by CeraVe www.youtube.com

Upon learning at a conference that black mothers in the U.S. die at three to four times the rate of white mothers, one of the widest of all racial disparities in women's health, Richards decided to take further action to help her community. She, along with a handful of fellow nurses, volunteered to provide antepartum, childbirth and postpartum education to the women living at the shelter. Additionally, they looked for other ways to boost the spirits of the residents, like throwing baby showers and bringing in guest speakers. When COVID-19 hit and in-person gatherings were no longer possible, Richards and her team found creative workarounds and created holiday care packages for the mothers instead.

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