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2009年考研英语时文阅读及翻译之带薪请假制度

黄涛   2008-11-25 11:16 【 】【我要纠错
带薪请假制度
英语的消亡
   

  导读:本文为说明文,主要介绍带薪请假政策的起因,制定和实施情况,以及所面临的问题和反对意见。文章首先以加罗一家的经历说明停薪请假的人所面临的经济困难。然后在第二,第三段介绍了一下各州针对这一问题的解决方案。第四段介绍了反对者的态度和看法,最后一段再次以加罗一家的情况来说明带薪请假政策可能带来的积极变化,并且呼应了文章开头部分,以此作为结尾,使得全文层次分明,结构完整。

  When Gina Garro and Brian Duplisea adopted 4-month-old Andres from Colombia last month, they were determined to take time off from work to care for him. Six years ago, after their daughter, Melina, was born, the family scraped by on Duplisea's $36, 000 salary as a construction worker so Garro, a special-education teacher, could stay home. Now, since Garro's job furnishes the family health insurance, she'll head back to work this fall while Duplisea juggles diapers and baby bottles. His boss agreed to the time off——but he will have to forgo his $18-an-hour pay. It won't be easy. Though Garro's $40, 000 salary will cover their mortgage, the couple will have to freeze their retirement accounts, scale back on Melina's after-school activities——and pray that nothing goes wrong with the car. It takes away from your cushion and your security, says Garro. Things will be tight.

  The 1993 Family and Medical Leave Act was supposed to help families like Garro's, offering a safety net to employees who want to take time off to nurture newborns, tend to their own major illnesses or care for sick relatives. But while the law guarantees that workers won't lose their jobs, it doesn't cover their paychecks. One survey last year showed that while 24 million Americans had taken leaves since 1999, 2.7 million more wanted to, but couldn't afford it. That may change soon. In response to increasing demands from voters, at least 25 states are now exploring new ways to offer paid leave. One possibility: tapping state disability funds. A handful of states——New York, New Jersey, California, Rhode Island and Hawaii——already dip into disability money to offer partial pay for women on maternity leave. But that doesn't help dads or people caring for elderly parents. New Jersey and New York may soon expand disability programs to cover leave for fathers and other caretakers. Thirteen states, including Arizona, Illinois and Florida, have proposed using unemployment funds to pay for leave.

  Massachusetts has been especially creative. When the state's acting governor, Jane Swift, gave birth to twin daughters in May, she drew attention to the issue with her own working maternity leave: she telecommuted part-time but earned her usual full-time salary. Even before Swift returned to work last week, the state Senate unanimously passed a pilot plan that would use surplus funds from a health-insurance program for the unemployed to give new parents 12 weeks off at half pay. Another plan, proposed in the House, would require employers to kick in $20 per worker to set up a New Families Trust Fund. Businesses would get tax credits in return. This week Swift is expected to announce her own paid-leave plan for lower-income mothers and fathers. Polls show widespread public support——another reason Swift and other politicians across the country have embraced the issue.

  Still, not everyone's wild about the idea. People without children question why new parents——the first group to get paid leave under many of the proposed plans——should get more government perks than they do. Business groups are resistant to proposals that would raid unemployment funds; several have already filed suit to block them. As the economy slows, many companies say they can't afford to contribute to proposed new benefit funds either. Business lobbyists say too many employees already abuse existing federal family-leave laws by taking time off for dubious reasons or in tiny time increments. The proposed laws, they say, would only make matters worse.

  For Garro and Duplisea, though, the new laws could make all the difference. As Melina fixes a peanut-butter-and-jelly sandwich, Duplisea hugs a snoozing Andres against his T shirt. We're trying to do the right thing by two kids, and we have to sacrifice, Duplisea says. In Massachusetts and plenty of other states, help may be on the way.

  “我们不得不做出牺牲”,州政府愿意为停薪请假的人报销帐单。上个月,吉纳加罗和布莱恩杜普里希从哥伦比亚收养四个月大的安德烈时,这对夫妇决定请假照顾他。六年前,他们的女儿梅丽娜出生后,这家人靠着杜普里希作建筑工人每年36,000美元的薪水勉强度日,这样,从事特殊教育教学的加罗就可以呆在家里照顾孩子。如今,因为加罗的工作能够为家庭提供医疗健康保险,她将在今年秋季回去工作,而让杜普里希摆弄那些尿片和婴儿奶瓶。他的老板同意他请假——但他必须为此放弃十八美元一小时的报酬。这可有些让这个家庭犯难。虽然加罗40,000美元的年薪可以支付他们的抵押贷款,但夫妇俩却不得不冻结他们的退休帐户,减少梅丽娜的课后活动开支——还要祷告汽车别出问题。“我们不再后顾无忧,”加罗说道:“生活会变得很拮据。”

  1993年颁布的《家庭医疗休假法》本来应该帮助像加罗这样的家庭,为那些请假照顾新生儿,治疗重病或者照顾患病亲人的员工提供一个安全保障。可是,法律虽然可以保证这些员工不至于丢掉工作,却不能支付他们的薪水。去年的一项调查显示,虽然从1999年以来有4000万美国人请假,但还有270万想要请假,却承受不起请假带来的损失。要不了多久这种情况就会改变。目前至少有25个州正在探索提供带薪休假的新途径,以回应选民日益增加的要求。一种可能就是利用州伤病基金。一些州——纽约州,新泽西,加利福尼亚,罗德岛和夏威夷——已经动用伤病基金为请孕产假的妇女提供部分工资。但这种举措并不能帮助那些做父亲的人和照料年迈父母的人。新泽西州和纽约州也许不久就会扩大伤病基金计划的覆盖面,让那些请假照料孩子的父亲们和其他照料伤病亲属的人都能从中受益。包括亚利桑那州,伊利诺伊州和佛罗里达州在内的十三个州已经提议动用失业基金来支付请假工资。

  马萨诸塞州的举措尤具创意。当该州的代理州长,简斯威夫特五月生下一对双胞胎女儿的时候,她以自己“请产假”的方式引起人们对这一问题的关注。她在家通过电脑终端远程工作,做的是兼职工作,拿的却是全职的薪水。在她上周重返工作岗位之前,州参议院就一致通过了一项试点方案,允许动用失业人员医疗保险计划的剩余基金,让刚生了孩子的父母可以拿一半工资,请假12周。众议院提议的另外一项计划则要求雇主为每个员工增加20美元工资,以便设立一个“新家庭信托基金”。作为回报,商业企业可以获得税金免除。这一周,预计斯威夫特将宣布她本人针对低收入母亲和父亲提出的带薪请假计划。民意测验显示了广泛的公众支持——这是斯威夫特和其他国内政治家乐意解决这一问题的另外一个原因。

  不过,并不是所有人都热衷这种想法。一些没有子女的人质疑为什么刚生了孩子的父母——他们是许多提案当中第一批获得带薪请假待遇的人——得到的政府补贴比他们的多。商业机构抵制动用失业基金的提案;一些机构甚至已经提起诉讼以阻止这些提案获得通过。随着经济发展的减速,许多公司也说他们无力为提议中的福利基金提供资金。商业企业的院外游说成员说有太多的员工已经滥用现有的联邦家庭医疗休假法,以许多可疑的借口请假,或者拖延一点请假时间。他们认为该法律提案只会使情况变得更糟。

  不过,对于加罗和杜普里希来说,新的法律会使他们的境况大为不同。梅丽娜准备一块花生-黄油-果冻三明治的时候,杜普里希把怀中打盹的安德烈抱在胸前。“我们正在努力为两个孩子创造好的条件,所以不得不做出牺牲,”杜普里希说。在马塞诸塞州和其他许多州,也许很快人们就会得到这样的帮助。

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