Police Women and Maternity Leave Term Paper

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Female Police Officers and Maternity Leave

Female police officers, much like female firefighters and females in the military, are a fairly recent development and evolution in history that was long overdue and met with some resistance initially. While females have experienced and overcome barriers to entry in numerous occupations, female police officers, female firefighters, and females in the military have had to deal with a culture and mentality that was (and still is to some degree) so firmly entrenched, i.e., the good old boys network taken to its extreme. Although certain individuals in society may believe that females should be excluded from becoming police officers, firefighters, or from joining the military due to their perceived emotional and/or physical weakness, the reality is that countless females are as qualified, if not more qualified, than their male counterparts. In addition, once a female becomes a police officer, firefighter, or joins the military, she will deal with and conquer the exact same challenges as the men, i.e., her life, like the lives of men, will be put on the line each and every single work day.

This paper analyzes and examines the issue of female police officers and maternity leave. In Part II, the history of women as police officers is discussed. Part III examines the Family Medical Leave Act and its assorted advantages and disadvantages. In Part IV, the maternity leave policies of eight police departments within the United States and two police departments from outside the United States are outlined.

Part V reviews short-term disability insurance. Lastly, this paper concludes with proposals for improving and maintaining the current policies which govern female police officers and maternity leave.

Female Police Officers and Maternity Leave

I. INRODUCTION

Female police officers, much like female firefighters and females in the military, are a fairly recent development and evolution in history that was long overdue and met with some resistance initially. While females have experienced and overcome barriers to entry in numerous occupations, female police officers, female firefighters, and females in the military have had to deal with a culture and mentality that was (and still is to some degree) so firmly entrenched, i.e., the good old boys network taken to its extreme. Although certain individuals in society may believe that females should be excluded from becoming police officers, firefighters, or from joining the military due to their perceived emotional and/or physical weakness, the reality is that countless females are as qualified, if not more qualified, than their male counterparts. In addition, once a female becomes a police officer, firefighter, or joins the military, she will deal with and conquer the exact same challenges as the men, i.e., her life, like the lives of men, will be put on the line each and every single work day.

This paper analyzes and examines the issue of female police officers and maternity leave. In Part II, the history of women as police officers is discussed. Part III examines the Family Medical Leave Act and its assorted advantages and disadvantages. In Part IV, the maternity leave policies of eight police departments within the United States and two police departments from outside the United States are outlined.

Part V reviews short-term disability insurance. Lastly, this paper concludes with proposals for improving and maintaining the current policies which govern female police officers and maternity leave.

II. HISTORY OF WOMEN AS POLICE OFFICERS

Women have been involved with police work in the United States since 1845, when they were assigned duty as matrons or workers in New York City. Likewise, many California cities had employed women as matrons or workers since 1890. These employees specialized in the care of female prisoners, and worked in city and county prisons and other penal institutions. In 1893, Mrs. Marie Owens, the widow of a policeman, was appointed to the force of Chicago Police Department by the mayor. Mrs. Owens was the first woman given the rank of "policeman" with power of arrest. In 1910, Mrs. Alice Stebbins Wells of Los Angeles, California became the first woman classified as a "policewoman." Mrs. Wells, a graduate theological student and social worker, prevailed after presenting to the mayor a petition bearing signatures of prominent citizens.

Mrs. Wells' first duties included supervision and enforcement of laws concerning dance halls, skating rinks, penny arcades, picture shows, and other similar places of public recreation. Among Mrs. Wells' activities focused on suppressing unwholesome billboard displays, searches for missing persons, and maintaining a general information bureau for women seeking advice on matters within the scope of police departments. In 1911, the position of women police officers in Los Angeles was placed under Civil Service control. By October 1912, there were three policewomen and three police matrons in the Los Angeles Police Department.

Mrs. Wells' appointment prompted nationwide publicity, and by 1916, her efforts in promoting the need for female officers resulted in the hiring of policewomen in 16 other cities and in several foreign countries.

Mrs. Wells was also instrumental in organizing the International Policewomen's Association in 1915. In 1918, Mrs. Wells succeeded in persuading the University of California, Southern Division (now UCLA) to offer the first course specifically on the work of women police officers. By 1937, 39 policewomen were employed by the Los Angeles Police Department. In addition, five aerial policewomen were appointed as reserve officers. These specially appointed aerial officers joined a previously all-male squadron of commercial and highly trained amateur pilots who were summoned to duty in situations requiring expert flyers.

Los Angeles' second policewoman, Minnie Barton, befriended several homeless girls while working with young women on parole or probation. Often these girls had nowhere else to go and no prospects for the future, so she attempted to help them rebuild their lives by taking them into her home and offering them vocational training. In 1917, Minnie Barton founded the Minnie Barton Home. In the early years, Ms. Barton and her co-workers were primarily interested in women just released from jail. Often younger women, particularly first offenders, were committed to the Home in lieu of jail sentences. This temporary home facility grew to include care for pregnant women, often left destitute as a result of the father's jail confinement or abandonment. The Home has since expanded and is now known as The Big Sister League, a United Way agency.

III. FAMILY MEDICAL LEAVE ACT

The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) became effective on August 5, 1993 and entitles eligible employees to take up to 12 weeks of unpaid, job-protected leave in a 12-month period for specified family and medical reasons. Employers may elect to use the calendar year, a fixed 12-month leave or fiscal year, or a 12-month period prior to or after the commencement of leave as the 12-month period. The Family and Medical Leave Act contains provisions on employer coverage; employee eligibility for benefits; entitlement to leave, maintenance of health benefits during leave, and job restoration after leave; notice and certification of the need for FMLA leave; and protection for employees who request or take FMLA leave. In addition, the Family and Medical Leave Act requires employers to keep certain records.

The Family and Medical Leave Act applies to all (1) public agencies, including state, local and federal employers, local education agencies (schools), and (2) private-sector employers who employed 50 or more employees in 20 or more workweeks in the current or preceding calendar year and who are engaged in commerce or in any industry or activity affecting commerce, including joint employers and successors of covered employers.

To be eligible for FMLA benefits, an employee must: (1) work for a covered employer; (2) have worked for the employer for a total of 12 months; (3) have worked at least 1,250 hours over the previous 12 months; and (4) work at a location in the United States or in any territory or possession of the United States where at least 50 employees are employed by the employer within 75 miles. Under the Family and Medical Leave Act, a covered employer must grant an eligible employee up to a total of 12 workweeks of unpaid leave during any 12-month period for one or more of the following reasons: (1) for the birth and care of the newborn child of the employee; (2) for placement with the employee of a son or daughter for adoption or foster care; (3) to care for an immediate family member (spouse, child, or parent) with a serious health condition; or (4) to take medical leave when the employee is unable to work because of a serious health condition.

Leave for birth and care, or placement for adoption or foster care must conclude within 12 months of the birth or placement. Under some circumstances, employees may take FMLA leave intermittently, which means taking leave in blocks of time, or by reducing their normal weekly or daily work schedule. If FMLA leave is for birth and care or placement for adoption or foster care, use of intermittent leave is subject to the employer's approval. The…[continue]

Some Sources Used in Document:

"|-City-of-Huntington" 
"Los-Angeles-Almanac" 

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