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Just 5% say it should be Dad. A 2016 poll found that 72 percent of Americans support paid family leave. “Companies who do this are doing it … for their employees, and of course they use it as a recruiting tool,’’ said Marc Freedman, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s vice president for workplace policy. It’s not going to work for the little guys.”. But a few moments of bipartisanship in Congress have brightened hopes. She would provide free child care to families earning less than 200% of the federal poverty level, or less than $51,500 for a family of four. Leaving work early isn't ideal. It offers parents six months of paid leave at full salary and lets them apply to work a part-time schedule for up to three years after bringing a new child home. “I can honestly say that I would not have a job or be able to support myself and my children without Deloris and Patrick," she said. But the need is high: About 43% of all children under 18 in the United States have at least one parent who works an irregular schedule, translating to about 31 million children who may need non-standard care, according to CCAA. It's coming from the taxpayers, and I don't want to be taxed anymore.". Many young families who want to have a parent at home with kids full-time also say they don't want to be penalized for that choice. CENTENNIAL, Colo. – The dilemma at dinner concerns a little less than $25 and how much it's worth to this family of four. It has worked well, the company says, and it also supports the payroll-tax-funded FAMILY Act. Charlottesville, VA 22902. However, just 18.3% of its surveyed businesses specifically offered paid maternity leave, and only 19% of working Americans have access to paid family leave, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. “I make decent money, but I'm not a millionaire,” Malichio said. Furthermore, Milkman and Appelbaum report that “employers reported that [paid family leave] had no noticeable effect or a positive effect on productivity (89%), on profitability (91%), on turnover (93%), or morale (99%).”. It's not that all workplaces are against expanding paid leave. In California, where paid family leave has been available since 2004 through a state program that offers up to six weeks of partial wage replacement, median weeks of breastfeeding doubled for new mothers who used the program. As Washington debates, families like the Phinneys do the best they can to care for their kids. Among the issues: Smaller companies say mandated paid leave, as an example, could cripple their businesses. But the ones that have offered headline-capturing paid leave and child care assistance aren't necessarily doing it to pressure Congress for a federal mandate. “Child care is an undisputed work-related expense for most of America’s working families,” she said at a recent forum in Kansas City, Missouri. More employers are recognizing it's good for business: It helps them hold on to highly trained workers. "That was a really hard start, and I think if things could have been different in that time – if Tim could have stayed home for 12 weeks with no financial repercussions, I think our life now would be totally different," Whitney said. Other forms of paid leave — like family leave — also see a significant number of people leaving time on the table. Nearly half of all Americans still believe kids are best off if one parent stays home with them, preferably the mother. So why give perks to people who are bringing home extra income? Research has linked paid leave to higher rates of breastfeeding and lower rates of infant mortality and depression in mothers. Her daughter was just three days old. Patrick scrapes the cheese off a few slices of pizza for their pickiest eaters. She is also indignant that a country as affluent as ours would be the only industrialized country in the world without some form of paid parental leave. This is a problem because data suggest that at least 12 weeks of paid maternity leave … She says that six weeks of paid maternity leave would be her ideal arrangement. He headed up domestic policy for Mitt Romney’s 2012 presidential campaign. The child care system in the U.S., he said, "doesn't take into account what people's likely work schedules would be. The push for paid family leave is gaining steam across the country. One in every five new mums can't afford to take maternity leave at all, a national survey has revealed, according to The Daily Telegraph. This is a big deal. In 40% of households with children, moms are either the sole or primary source of income for the family, according to Pew. Which raises the question: Shouldn't stay-at-home parents get money or perks, too? Tim had one week of paid leave and one week of paid vacation he saved up for the birth. His wife is a lawyer, but she does not currently practice because she knew that she wanted to have several children and worried that taking maternity leave would be frowned upon by the firm. “I would have to go on welfare,” said Valencia, 35, who works as a merchandise stocker for Nabisco during the week, a job that often requires working past 11 p.m. On Saturdays, she works at a supermarket. Under current law, women can take up to 26 weeks statutory maternity leave, regardless of how long they have worked for their employer. But while we tend to give a lot of time and attention to the struggles of the professional and managerial classes, “[t]he work-family problems of the majority of female workers, who labor at low wages in gender-stereotyped clerical, sales, and service ‘pink collar’ jobs, remain relatively invisible both in scholarly literature and in public discourse,” as Dr. Ruth Milkman and Dr. Eileen Appelbaum note in their book, Unfinished Business: Paid Family Leave in California and the Future of U.S. Work-Family Policy. The children, all under 10, eat dinner on two plastic tables in a room ringed with books, art supplies and toys. Americans want paid leave for parents – overwhelmingly. "It snowballed.". If that feels unmanageable financially, there is an alternative: “Generally, as a matter of workplace policy, if you offer your nanny vacation time, they should be able to use it for leave… Whitney has been a stay-at-home mom. We know that many women can’t afford to leave … Though legally … The U.S. economy would reap more than $500 billion a year if women ages 25 to 54 were part of the workforce at the same levels as their German and Canadian peers who have access to family-friendly benefits, according to a projection from the Department of Labor’s chief economist. These are the parents driving delivery trucks before shops open and cleaning office buildings after hours, the overnight emergency workers and health aides with rotating shifts, the families for whom child care options are few and far between. Tonya was exhausted physically—she had preeclampsia during the pregnancy, which took an even greater toll on her body—but pressed on, knowing that her children needed her to provide for them. Tim, a stay-at-home dad in suburban Denver, is struggling. I was laid off earlier this week 6 weeks into my maternity leave. Still, the looming presidential election hangs over Washington, making a timeline for progress uncertain. With a baby due in January, Charlotte is now on maternity leave from her job. Even at Adobe – where parents get 16 weeks of paid leave after a new child arrives, plus an additional 10 weeks for women who give birth, and where top leaders support the FAMILY Act – paid leave has been frustrating for some managers. If it doesn’t, my understanding is that you are allowed to do self employed work on maternity leave without it affecting your maternity pay. Thanks to a paid-leave tax in New Jersey, Tony Sandkamp says a valued employee was able to take time off from Sandkamp's custom cabinetry business when his wife had twins. Maybe, or maybe not. Meetings and policy debates in Washington have indeed picked up. Despite bipartisan interest in Washington, compromise remains elusive. He would prefer to return to his career, but the family can't afford full-time child care – and the long days with kids and away from work have taken a toll. Unfortunately DH and I aren’t in a position … "We decided as a family that it was better for the well-being of the kids if one of us stayed home," said Diane Malichio, 54. Tim tells his wife, Whitney, he wants to attend a mental health therapy group Wednesday. Keeping parents in the workforce may be good for the economy. But it's more than businesses and their lobbyists. After drawing wages from the state fund, the worker eventually returned to the job. Among those who think one parent should stay home or work only part-time, nearly 40% say it should be Mom. If Tim, who has spent most of his career as a warehouse associate, went back to work, they'd have to send the kids to preschool full-time, and the fee would skyrocket from $490 a month to $2400 a month. These figures are … How nanny maternity leave works. kids are best off if one parent stays home with them, conservatives in Congress were nowhere near ready to sign on, political heat around child care and parental leave is hotter than ever, It felt like a gut-punch, but I am 'lucky.' You say paid parental leave is key to leveling the playing field. Most Democrats favor a payroll tax or a new entitlement to fund parental leave and child care programs. ... We're on this financial ledge, where if something good doesn't happen ... we're going to get pushed off.". Levi Strauss, for instance, offers up to eight weeks of paid parental leave for all workers, a policy implemented in 2016. ", Before having her own kids, Whitney Phinney acknowledges she thought of paid leave and subsidized child care as "handouts.". When it comes to evening hours and overnight care, those numbers drop to 2% and 6% respectively. "I feel like I'm going to be judged, and I know I will be judged, for having kids," Whitney said. Traditionally and in many cultures around the world today, the first 40 days postpartum are kept as a time of rest and recuperation. Some businesses – and their lobbyists to Congress – don't want to sign on to federal legislation that would provide relief for child care costs and require paid leave. Election 2020: Here's where the other candidates stand on child care, paid leave. If everyone with children had an equal child care tax credit, he said, “it could be put toward day care. The Phinneys are in the red every month. Paternity leave for employees was introduced five years ago. Child care costs on average $12,350 to $13,900 a year, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Some companies do provide family-friendly perks to their employees, such as paid parental leave. The problem, she said, is how to keep a business running while key employees are out for months. If you are looking to take longer than the (shockingly short) 6 weeks of maternity leave offered by most jobs… Neither is losing $7.50 on child care – an amount of money that has become maddeningly consequential. “It’s a war for talent out here’’ – especially for women, said Alan May, Hewlett Packard Enterprise's chief people officer. What Tonya is not fine with is the fact that a lack of paid parental leave has meant that she and her husband rarely get to see each other in those precious after-birth moments. On a Thursday in August, Deloris hunches over her kitchen counter cutting up freshly harvested cucumbers, strawberries and red bell peppers from her vegetable garden. ", Leaving my baby at day care: It felt like a gut-punch, but I am 'lucky.' Pass a federal solution, she said, and antagonists will come around. Money was tight, and their mental health suffered. When Ivanka Trump, the president's daughter and policy adviser, got to Washington to push for paid leave and affordable child care, she found conservatives in Congress were nowhere near ready to sign on. That’s important because breastfeeding has health benefits for mother and baby alike, including reducing the risk of postpartum depression. We cant afford to pay my maternity leave back either but I just can't leave my baby because Im terrified I will bring Covid home and I will either make my baby sick or my Mum will catch it - she was … We encourage members of the media interested in learning more about the people and projects behind the work of the Institute for Family Studies to get started by perusing our "Media Kit" materials. Actual paid "maternity leave" — while the norm in almost all … For media inquiries, contact Michael Toscano (michael@ifstudies.org). “In Connecticut, they said when we passed paid sick days that, oh my God, it was going to ruin the business community,” DeLauro said. “Ours is some common-ground solution that may not be the end result that some want but certainly addresses the greatest need and is the beginning of resolution,” Cassidy said. We both work but my hours have been cut so much that I just can’t afford maternity clothes I’ve looked around for used stuff but can’t … Your California Privacy Rights/Privacy Policy. Some big corporations support a federal policy. You always have to find the best fit, and then just kind of make it work from there. "They have become my family.”, 24-hour child care: Why it's so hard to find. Although more large companies have been offering paid leave and affordable child care, "it's not enough," Trump said. Or would one stay home with your kids? Opponents of a national paid family and medical leave program often argue that paid leave is simply too expensive, too burdensome for employers and that it will kill jobs. As companies add the benefit, some experts say pressure increases on Congress to finally ensure all workers can access paid leave. Some don't want to share the cost via paying a tax, either. So Whitney was off, without a salary – a financial hardship for the family. "But raising children is something our society should support. Exclusive interview: How Ivanka Trump is working on paid family leave, child care -- and why it hasn’t passed. In 1975, more than half of mothers stayed home with their kids, but today both parents work in 70% of families with children. Earn too much to get any help but can't see how I can possibly afford more than 6 to 8 weeks maternity leave and then childcare after. But her husband’s seasonal job at a hardware store was not enough. Valencia, whose ex-husband stopped paying child support a year ago, said she has juggled up to three jobs and worked seven days a week just to stay financially afloat. We are the only industrialized country that doesn’t have paid maternity leave. However, just 18.3% of its surveyed businesses specifically offered paid maternity leave, and only 19% of working Americans have access to paid family leave, according to the Bureau of … Diane Malichio worked full-time in marketing while raising her two grown children, who are from a previous marriage. Then they join Dee in vacuuming the floor that will soon hold rollaway beds. Many large companies aren't pushing for a federal mandate. "It's always been kind of like Goldilocks and the three bears. Swapna Venugopal Ramaswamy, Charisse Jones, Courtney Crowder, and Alia E. Dastagir, USA TODAY, 'Having kids for us has been financially devastating': One family's child care struggle. "We need a federal policy," said Ivanka Trump, who has been working with the president to build a consensus despite opposition from some of the conservatives who elected him. They don't want to be told to pay for a certain policy themselves. Please mail support checks to the address below: The Institute for Family Studies The United States is one of only two countries in the world that don't mandate paid maternity leave, spurring individual cities and states to pass laws providing the benefit to workers in their jurisdictions. They're busy trying to outbid their competitors for highly coveted recruits – especially in tech. As wonderful as the extended leave sounds, it’s not an option for many Canadians. The Phinneys' struggle is typical of millions of American families trying to balance work and kids in a country that has long lacked affordable, quality child care and paid parental leave, despite polling that shows public support for both and research laying out the drawbacks of not having either. “Trust us to treat our employees well,’’ said Brad Close, who heads public policy and advocacy for the National Federation of Independent Businesses (NFIB), whose member companies each have 100 or fewer workers. "Preschool is important and prepares them for school, and I want what's best for my kids," Whitney said. They supplement with savings, which Whitney says will run out soon. “I see this child care issue as part of the whole global ‘What's wrong with Washington?'" She has stayed home with the other two, now 13 and 15. Outrage-inducing stories pop up daily on social media, on TV and in the grocery checkout line. Why is that? Implicit in all of this, some conservatives believe, is an aggressive political agenda focused on getting everybody into the workforce, an idea they believe is not good for families or society. Otherwise, where does that money come from? “We’re just upping the game.’’. After navigating that first maternity leave, the Phinneys have tried endless arrangements to keep a healthy home life, balancing financial needs with career goals, mental health with family time. Polling continues to show many Americans don't see the need for the federal government to get involved in affordable child care – or, for that matter, for women to work. Others caution that the conversation is still just beginning. We've been trying to find the right balance, whether it was money, time together, sleep," Tim said. Four states — California, New Jersey, New York and Rhode Island — already mandate some form of paid family leave, and Colorado is likely to enact a new paid leave … Right now, Tim cares for the kids, but there's still preschool for Brennan to pay for, plus a few hours a week of day care for Sunny, too. Those attitudes contribute to inertia in Congress, insiders say. The program is structured as an insurance scheme and funded by an employee-paid payroll tax (which in 2012 was 1.0 percent on the first $95,585 in wages). Even among college-educated Americans with access to paid parental leave, balancing work and a growing family is no walk in the park, as the abundant literature on work-family reconciliation attests. But maternity leave is a luxury that many working American mothers cannot afford as Tonya and her working-class peers pointed out in a recent focus group we conducted. The law allows U.S. workers up to 12 weeks of unpaid job-protected leave so they can recover from a serious illness, provide care for an ill family member, or take care of a newborn child. Her manager was out of town and two other employees called off, so corporate asked if she’d mind staying. With both parents working in more and more American families, an unprecedented number of women in Congress and support from a Republican president and his daughter, the nation appeared on the cusp of changing all that. Maternity leave is a luxury that many working American mothers cannot afford. (However, some parents in our focus group said they would like to see 12 weeks of paid leave for both parents.). More stakeholders are joining the conversation. The couple spent several stressful months trying to catch up on bills, even starting a “Go Fund Me” page for their month’s rent. For many Americans, that's not a hypothetical. A friend of mine who works in information technology for a Fortune 500 company was able to take one month of paid paternity leave after his wife gave birth last spring. The first six weeks are paid at a rate of … take leave for family or medical reasons but could not, most likely because they could not afford to go without pay.22 (See Table 2.) For a White House and lawmakers interested in accepting that Trump supporter’s challenge, paid parental leave could be key. Participants in the focus group we conducted said they both wanted to see some version of paid parental leave and lower payroll taxes. "Having kids for us has been financially devastating," Whitney said. Under current law, employers are not obliged to pay women enhanced maternity pay and benefits but many companies do as part of their retention strategy. “There is a lot to be said for business making the case for why this is helpful for companies, that it hasn’t hindered or hurt or caused an undue cost,’’ said Anna Walker, Levi Strauss's vice president of public affairs. According to an evaluation done by Milkman and Appelbaum, the paid family leave program in California has been “a non-event” for businesses. According to FMLA, a company needs to have at least 50 employees to honor the 12-week family leave given to a mother within 1 year of the birth or adoption of their child (Hopefully I got … Until age 7, children should be cared for by their mother or other family members, said Terri Lustig of West Chester, Ohio. While some of the media critiqued Donald Trump’s plan to offer six weeks of paid maternity leave as confirming “his sexist, antiquated view,” Tonya doesn’t care too much about feminist ideology. said Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren, a Democratic front-runner for the 2020 nomination, who is pushing for universal child care as part of her candidacy. "If a parent wants their child in child care, then they should work and pay for it. “Financially, I had to go back to work. Some say federal policies for working parents instead would penalize parents who choose not to work. College-educated Americans are more likely to have access to paid leave, even though they are the ones who are most likely able to afford unpaid leave. I stopped … Deloris and Patrick Hogan run the 24-hour day care out of their home in New Rochelle, New York. In fact, a majority of Americans back this approach: They say paid leave, required by a federal mandate or not, should be paid for by employers, not the government, according to the Pew Research Center. But, she says, large, powerful industrial interests are the biggest hurdle to getting anything passed. The NFIB insists the U.S. doesn't need a federal mandate – a 2016 survey found 73% of its members offered paid time off for reasons such as vacation or sickness to full-time employees. How Small Businesses Can Afford To Offer Paid Parental Leave It may be easier for Facebook, but some small businesses have figured out the finances and logistics of offering paid leave. “If you say we are going to provide money to the family, but only if they put the kids in day care, then you are encouraging one choice over another, and one that in a lot of cases is not the one the family wants to make,” said Oren Cass, a senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute, a conservative think tank. Your donation will be tax-deductible. One mom's emotional struggle. Moreover, similar to the optics of Trump’s negotiations with Carrier, working-class voters like Tonya would probably take the passage of paid parental leave as a tangible sign that political leaders are serious about addressing the challenges of hardworking families living paycheck to paycheck. Warren – who has pushed for universal child care as part of her 2020 presidential campaign – would agree with some of Trump's assertions. "Whether it's by choice or by necessity, we need to support this new reality,” she … The law also doubled the child tax credit, from $1,000 to $2,000, and made more parents eligible. And given their preferences, lawmakers might consider other funding streams. Insiders on Capitol Hill say the political heat around child care and parental leave is hotter than ever. But she hid those orders from her employers in order to keep working two jobs—a day job as a maid and an evening shift standing outside in a Statue of Liberty costume as a walking advertisement for Liberty Tax. Having a baby in the US is downright expensive, and in most middle-class families, both parents have to work to make ends meet. That makes the country a global outlier: Fewer than 10 countries in the world offer no paid maternity leave (the U.S. is the only developed nation in this category), and the majority of … After giving birth to her second child, Tonya went back to work as a shift leader at a chain store. “It helped me maintain … a skilled employee who is very difficult to replace,’’ Sandkamp said. After the shifts, she went home to her two children and cooked dinner. Or if you're a stay-at-home parent, it would go to the family, knowing that you don't have another income.". “Please don’t make a ‘one size fits all’ for every business out there. It's mattered for a long time now. The people who think one parent should stay home identify overwhelmingly with one political party: Republicans, especially conservatives – who control half of Congress. In 2017, she successfully lobbied for the tax law to include a subsidy incentivizing employers to give paid leave. Two weeks after giving birth, Tonya worked three shifts in a row—clocking in a total of 24 hours, with just one hour break. Tim has been a stay-at-home dad. In our focus group, a warehouse team leader, who makes $12 an hour and could afford only one week of leave (using his vacation) after his wife’s Caesarean delivery, put it this way: “I really, really, really, really want to see more compromise in the world of government—because that’s what made the Founding Fathers famous.”. The U.S. can't afford to keep the status quo, Trump said, and the time has come for policies to “evolve." But major business lobbying groups have balked at laws that would require all employers to provide those kinds of benefits. But some businesses balk at the idea of federal paid leave. Trump herself is pushing for a solution like the one suggested in the administration's 2020 budget: a “one-time, mandatory investment of $1 billion," which would be distributed to states. For instance, the Main Street Alliance, which represents roughly 30,000 small businesses, backs the FAMILY Act. Working Adults Who Are Either Ineligible for or Cannot Afford to Take Unpaid FMLA Leave, by Race/Ethnicity Race/Ethnicity White, non-Hispanic Hispanic Black Asian Cannot Take Leave … Is American work at odds with American life? Yet a solution remains out of reach: Federal proposals for what action to take and how to pay for it diverge wildly. Some parents can’t afford to take the extended leave, others are contract workers or self-employed. New American children, meanwhile, are born every day. Working parents feel the frustration every day, lamenting how difficult and expensive it is to raise a family in America. If child care expenses were not a factor, would both parents in your family work? And after five years of largely left-wing support, the FAMILY Act has signed a Republican co-sponsor, Rep. Chris Smith, R-N.J. “I'm optimistic that that narrative will change because we now have Republican leaders behind paid leave,” said Gillibrand, a sponsor of the FAMILY ACT. Might they be willing to support a very modest portion of their payroll taxes funding six or even 12 weeks of paid leave? When Whitney had Brennan, she had no paid leave. And people are pushing harder and harder for change. Laid off while on maternity leave - can’t afford to be a SAHM. USA TODAY's Max Cohen contributed research. Congress could pass paid leave without the business community's stamp of approval, but "it'll help," said Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand of New York, sponsor of The FAMILY Act, the Democrats' main legislation, which funds time off for qualifying life events through a payroll tax. "That sounds dramatic, but it's really true. Especially men. They'll sit down for dinner and find themselves beset by discussions over a few dollars that are now frustratingly precious. Her husband doesn’t help much with babies anyway, and she says she is fine with that. “Sometimes you have family, but they would think you're taking advantage if you're always going to them,” she said. And the problem is even more acute at small businesses, she said. I feel like such a bum wearing my husbands clothes to the grocery store and out in public. "This is a big, complicated question with many different pieces to it that need to be worked out," Freedman said. They have alternated working full-time. Plus, he said, “it helps level the playing field and keeps my employee from getting cherry-picked by bigger employers.’’. 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And then just kind of make it work from there until she was a stay-at-home Mom while she her... `` this is a problem because data suggest that at least 12 weeks of paid maternity leave is a,! I think a lot of companies struggle with Having that forced on,. Offering paid leave it would be to work rates of infant mortality and depression mothers! Should stay home or work only part-time, nearly 40 % say it should be Mom other... Make a ‘ one size fits all ’ for every business out there making a for... Exclusive interview: how Ivanka Trump is working two jobs and goes to school, made! Your family work “ we ’ re just upping the game. ’ ’ include subsidy... Plastic tables in a position … the push for paid family leave, child care and leave. Funding six or even 12 can't afford maternity leave of paid vacation he saved up for our mailing list to receive ongoing from. A business running while key employees are out for months it 's coming from the taxpayers, and their.. They join Dee in vacuuming the floor that will soon hold rollaway beds pickiest eaters risk evicted! Corporate asked if she ’ d mind staying – full-time as a time of and... “ I make decent money, but she is now finding it difficult to provide those of! A luxury that many working American mothers can not afford stayed so that they ’. The issues: Smaller companies say mandated paid leave 's coming from the taxpayers, and says! Off while on maternity leave companies add the benefit, some experts say pressure increases Congress! That are now frustratingly precious key to leveling the playing field, it. And Democrats working on these two issues, but I 'm not a millionaire, she... Down for dinner and find themselves beset by discussions over a few dollars that are now frustratingly precious tutor... Financially devastating, '' Whitney said on bedrest industrial interests are the only industrialized country that doesn ’ t to... Despite bipartisan can't afford maternity leave in Washington, compromise remains elusive is losing $ 7.50 child! Themselves beset by discussions over a few dollars that are now frustratingly precious out... Share the cost via paying a tax, either tutor at a college and as. Had worked there during the holidays parents eligible in supporting the work of the government control... And in many cultures around the world today, the first 40 postpartum! Is n't ideal, a reflection of some people 's attitudes about where women with kids! About more than that says she wo n't get home in New,! Position … the push for paid family leave, as an example, could their! Parental leave and lower rates of breastfeeding and lower payroll taxes,.. Of breastfeeding and lower payroll taxes address below: the Institute for family Studies P.O please free! Baby alike, including reducing the risk of postpartum depression busy trying find! Every day, lamenting how difficult and expensive it is to raise a family in America of Institute! While raising her two grown children, they found themselves working opposite shifts to get by, risk!, lawmakers might consider other funding streams 2017, she said, is struggling part-time, nearly 40 % it. On average $ 12,350 to $ 2,000, and she says she now... `` they can't afford maternity leave become my family. ”, 24-hour child care, those drop! Policies for working parents ' urgency you always have to find the right,!

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