Report: At Current Rate, Women Won’t Close Pay Gap Until 2059

Full-time working women in Washington make about 79 percent as much as their male counterparts. (AFGE/flickr)

Full-time working women in Washington make about 79 percent as much as their male counterparts. (AFGE/flickr)

If the gender pay gap continues to close at its current rate, women will reach pay equity with men in 2059, according to a new report from the American Association of University Women. Called The Simple Truth about the Gender Pay Gap, the report finds full-time working women are slowly closing the disparity, making about 80 percent nationally of what their male counterparts make.

Marilyn Watkins, policy director at the Economic Opportunity Institute, said the issue isn’t just that women are paid less for the same job title. Often, as in the technology field, they are shuffled into lower-paying positions.

“Men might get the job as coders, which are the most highly paid jobs, and women get slotted into the testing part, where they still have to have a lot of computer and technology skills but they just get paid less and they don’t have the opportunity to really rise up in the organization either,” she said.

In Washington, full-time working women make 79 percent of what men working full-time make, according to the report.

Watkins said Washington state could strengthen its equal-pay laws by looking to other states. This summer, she said, Massachusetts passed one of the strongest equal-pay laws in the country, which makes sure companies pay equally for comparable jobs and job requirements.

“For example, cafeteria workers and custodians might be deemed comparable jobs even though one is traditionally female and gets paid a lot less than the traditionally male custodial jobs,” she added.

Equal-pay legislation, such as bills that provide for wage transparency, have failed in Washington’s Legislature over the past few years. But Watkins said the paid sick-leave initiative on this year’s ballot could boost Washington women in the workplace.

The report also found that African-American women make about two-thirds and Hispanic or Latina women make about half of what white men make nationwide. Watkins said it’s important to think about how policies that close the gender pay gap affect women of color as well.

“We really do need to include a racial equity lens as well as a gender equity lens when we’re looking at policies,” explained Watkins. “All of these policies will really help end some of the racial inequities as well as some of the gender inequities.”

The full report can be read here.

[Via Public News Service]

Of course Hillary Clinton went to work sick. That’s the American way.

hillary-clintonAs Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton demonstrated when she nearly collapsed from the effects of walking pneumonia early this week, the benefits of running for elected office may include many things, but sick days are not among them.

This is perhaps unavoidable in light of the fact that the job of actually being an elected official doesn’t allow for much rest and recuperation, either — see, for instance, John F. Kennedy plowing ahead despitecrippling back pain and Addison’s disease, which he wanted to conceal from the public; and George H.W. Bush ignoring a doctor’s advice in 1992 to stay in bed rather than attend a state dinner in Japan, with the result being that he vomited on the Japanese prime minister. “The president is human,” Bush’s physician told reporters at the time. “He gets sick.”

New Jersey city passes paid sick leave, continuing the state’s unstoppable momentum

This week, a town in New Jersey passed a law requiring businesses to offer all employees paid sick leave, becoming the 13th place in the state to do so and the 34th in the country.

Morristown workers at companies with 10 or more employees will be able to take up to five days a year, while those with fewer will get three days. All employees, both full time and part time, will be eligible. An exception was made for those who work in food service, childcare, and eldercare positions, who will get five days no matter how big their employers are to protect public health.

With its passage, there are now 29 cities and five states across the country that require businesses to offer employees a paid day off if they or their families get sick, even as there is no national requirement to do so.10-years-of-psd-victories

Activists in New Jersey had originally planned to have Morristown residents vote on paid sick leave through their November ballot, but the city council decided to take action ahead of time on its own.

New Jersey has become a powerhouse of paid sick leave laws, passing seven in 2014 alone. Those behind the movement are hoping to get even more in place before the end of the year.

“Our aim is to move 1–2 more towns this year, and ultimately bring NJ to 15 municipal ordinances before the close of the year,” Analilia Mejia, executive director of New Jersey Working Families, said in an email.

The state’s paid sick days movement was launched shortly after it passed the country’s second paid family leave program. (There are now four states that have paid family leave.) Then New York City, the country’s largest, managed to pass paid sick days in 2013, and activists in New Jersey decided to focus on going city by city, especially since Gov. Chris Christie (R) has stood staunchly in opposition to all sick leave legislation, including something statewide.

But dozens of laws across the country, most of them over the last three years, have now been put into effect. They campaigns have even moved beyond coastal cities to stake claims in the midwest. They’re already having an impact: the share of Americans who get paid sick leave from their employersjust reached an all-time high, climbing 7 percentage points over the last decade in which sick leave laws started to take root.

And while Congress still hasn’t acted on bills that have been introduced to require all American companies to offer paid sick leave, these cities and states have proven that doing so doesn’t harm businesses or jobs. Employers inConnecticut, Jersey City, New York City, and Washington, D.C. say the laws haven’t been costly or difficult to implement. Job growth remained strong inConnecticut and San Francisco after the laws were passed, and was actually stronger in Seattle.

[Original: Bryce Covert at ThinkProgress]

Study: ‘B-minus’ for WA workplace laws concerning expectant and new parents

Photo credit: Diana Nguyen/Flickr Creative Commons

Photo credit: Diana Nguyen/Flickr Creative Commons

SEATTLE — The Evergreen State has room for improvement when it comes to protecting working families, according to a new report. The National Partnership for Women and Families gave Washington a “B-minus” grade in a recent study assessing states’ workplace policies to protect expectant and new parents – including paid family leave and workplace accommodations for pregnant women.

According to Marilyn Watkins, policy director at the Economic Opportunity Institute and head of the Washington Work and Family Coalition, there’s one bright spot for Washington parents who need time off to care for their children.

“Over a decade ago now,” Watkins said, “Washington passed a law that says that if you do have paid leave – paid sick leave or some other kind of paid time off – you can use that leave not only if you’re sick yourself, but also if you have a sick child, spouse, parent, parent-in-law, grandparent.”

Only California received an ‘A’ grade in the report. Both New Jersey and the District of Columbia received an ‘A-minus.’

A pregnant woman in Washington can also take as much time off as necessary without having to worry about losing her job, Watkins said. But she won’t necessarily be paid for that time.

Sarah Fleisch Fink, director of policy and senior counsel with the National Partnership for Women and Families, said that while Washington has taken steps in the right direction, workers in low-wage jobs are disproportionately affected by inadequate workplace protections.

“For workers in low-wage jobs, they are even less likely to have access to paid leave, they are even less likely to have access to paid sick days and to other protections,” she said. “And in many cases, they are even more in need.”

A state ballot initiative this year could help alleviate some of the financial stress for expectant and new parents, Watkins said. Initiative 1433 would raise the minimum wage statewide to $13.50 an hour by 2020, and also provide workers with paid sick leave. According to Watkins, more than a million workers in Washington currently don’t have a single day of paid sick leave.

“So, they are going to hugely benefit from having access to paid sick leave for the first time; so will their kids, so will the elders in their family,” Watkins said. “We’re all going to be healthier when workers aren’t forced to make the choice between going to work sick or putting groceries on the family’s table that week.”

Via Public News Service »

The world is getting better at paid maternity leave. The U.S. is not.

matleave-map

When news broke that Ivanka Trump’s clothing line doesn’t offer workers paid maternity leave, some were surprised. After all, the Republican presidential nominee’s daughter has said she champions the rights of working mothers. “Policies that allow women with children to thrive should not be novelties,” she said on the last day of the Republican National Convention in July. “They should be the norm.”

The truth is, however, that in the United States bearing a child comes at a high price for many women. Despite having one of the world’s most advanced economies, the United States lags far behind other countries in its policies for expectant mothers. In addition to being the only highly competitive country where mothers are not guaranteed paid leave, it sits in stark contrast to countries such as Cuba and Mongolia that offer expectant mothers one year or more of paid leave.

Countries finance paid-maternal-leave policies in a variety of ways. Some require that the employer finance the leave; in others, the money comes from public funds. For low-income residents or those who work in the informal sector, an increasing number of governments are providing maternity cash benefits, according to the International Labor Organization, a U.N.-affiliated agency.

The graphic above highlights just how poorly the U.S. compares with the rest of the world. It shows that this is the only advanced economy that does not mandate paid leave for mothers at the federal level.

Full story: Washington Post

 

 

Clinton offers quiet policy lure to millions of unpaid caregivers

With the general election looming in November, Democrat Hillary Clinton and Republican Donald Trump, the presumed nominees, are turning their attention to independent voters who may determine the outcome of the hotly contested presidential race.

Although not a hot button issue like immigration or trade policy, Clinton’s plan to alleviate the financial stress of caregiving—whether for a child or other family member—may be an important wedge issue to attract independent voters, especially women.

The subject gained attention last week when a research center in Berkeley, California, released a negative assessment of employment conditions and practices among early childhood workers, a predominantly female workforce.

Clinton is proposing a 3-pronged plan to alleviate the financial stress of caregiving: tax credits to help offset up to $6,000 in annual caregiving costs for elderly family members; providing credits towards monthly Social Security retirement benefits for caregivers who leave the paid labor force to care for elderly relatives; and expanding state-level grants to improve respite care access for family caregivers of children or adults of any age.

So far, Trump has not said much above caregiving, beyond backing on-site child care by employers. “It’s not expensive for a company to do it,” he has said.

Full Story: Women’s e-News »

Home Economics: The Link Between Work-Life Balance and Income Equality

The central conflict of domestic life right now isn’t men versus women or mothers versus fathers; it’s the family against money.

The solution to the work-life conundrum is not “enlisting men” in the domestic sphere. The solution is establishing social supports that allow families to function. The fact is, men can’t have it all, for the same reason women can’t: whether or not the load is being shared 50-50 doesn’t matter if the load is still unbearable. It will not become bearable once women lean in, or once the consciousness is raised, or once men are full partners, always, in domestic life. It will become bearable when decidedly more quotidian things become commonplace—like paid parental leave and affordable, quality day care.

Full Story: The Atlantic »