In Focus: Sick Days and Family Medical Leave
Nov 20, 2013 | Permalink »
New Report Finds that Four in Ten Women Lack Economic Security
By Lauren French
Despite the increasingly important role of women in America's workforce, many are still struggling to afford basic needs and make ends meet. In conjunction with Representative Rosa DeLauro (CT-D), Wider Opportunities for Women (WOW) recently hosted a congressional briefing to discuss these economic challenges. The briefing included remarks from Shawn McMahon, CEO of WOW; Teresa Younger, executive director of the Permanent Commission of the Status of Women in Connecticut; and Anastasia Braucht, a Jersey Shore restaurant worker and volunteer with Restaurant Opportunities Centers United.
The briefing highlighted a new WOW report that finds 45 percent of Americans are economically insecure. The report defines economic insecurity based on the Basic Economic Insecurity Tables Index (BEST), a measure of the basic needs and assets required to achieve financial stability, taking into account health care premiums, child care, retirement and emergency savings, and employer-based benefits. This measure goes beyond the baseline poverty rate, and instead calculates a benchmark income that allows families to make ends meet and escape poverty.
Nov 19, 2013 | Permalink »
75 Years of the FLSA: Celebrating and Looking Ahead
By Lauren French
This year marks the 75th anniversary of the passage of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), the first federal law to set standards for minimum wage, overtime, and child labor regulations. The Wage and Hour Division of the Department of Labor celebrated this milestone by bringing together workers, researchers, and advocates to discuss the development of the FLSA and the future of workplace protections.
The event featured a number of well-respected policy experts speaking on a range of issues that affect workers and employers, including the need to raise the minimum wage, reform overtime rules, increase enforcement efforts and address the struggles faced by women in the workforce. In discussing the contentious history of the FLSA passage, U.S. Secretary of Labor Thomas Perez reminded attendees that the battles labor advocates and government officials face today are not so different from those faced 75 years ago. Secretary Perez quoted President Franklin Roosevelt, who warned, on the night before the signing of the FLSA, "Do not let any calamity-howling executive with an income of $1,000 a day, ...tell you...that a wage of $11 a week is going to have a disastrous effect on all American industry."
Nov 06, 2013 | Permalink »
American Public Health Association Voices Support for Paid Leave
By Lauren French
In exciting news for earned sick days and paid family and medical leave advocates across the country, the American Public Health Association (APHA) has issued a new policy statement supporting steps to create paid leave policies. This is a tremendous endorsement for paid leave campaigns, as well as for millions of U.S. workers who currently lack any access paid leave.
APHA is the world's largest and most diverse public health association and is the primary voice for public health advocacy in the United States. The organization has been an important advocate for the health of working families and has previously recognized the importance of paid leave to the public health by signing on to support the Healthy Families Act, legislation that would set a national standard for paid sick days.
These health experts recognize that access to paid leave is a necessary component of protecting the health of not only workers, but the general public as well. The policy statement reports that a lack of earned sick days contributes to the spread of infectious disease and is an obstacle to preventive care. As an example, it cites the CDC estimate that infected employees who reported to work during the H1N1 pandemic in 2009 caused the infection of an additional seven million people and 1,500 deaths.