Tag Archives: Debra L. Ness

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45% of Arizona’s workers cannot earn a paid sick day

A new fact sheet on Arizona’s workforce compiled by the National Partnership for Women & Families explores the impact of more than 934,000 workers in the state not being able to earn a single paid sick day. It focuses on the individuals and industries most affected by the lack of paid sick days, including children, restaurant workers and low-wage workers and their families. The fact sheet makes a powerful case for paid sick days standards at the state and national levels.

“Our nation’s failure to establish a paid sick days standard is harming people in Arizona and across the country,” said Debra L. Ness, president of the National Partnership. “It is absolutely unacceptable that so many hardworking people and their families risk grave financial hardship if they get the flu, strep throat or another common illness because they cannot earn basic paid sick days, even after years at their jobs. Lawmakers at all levels need to look closely at what is at stake and take action.”

Twenty-four jurisdictions across the country already have, or will soon have, laws in place that guarantee workers the right to earn paid sick time. Arizona is not one of them. To create the new fact sheet, the National Partnership compiled the most recent data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics and Census Bureau for all of the states that do not yet have a state or municipal paid sick days law. Fact sheets for all of these states, including Arizona, can be found in map form here.

According to the new fact sheet:

  • More than 210,000 people in Arizona work in restaurants – an industry in which, nationally, 90 percent of workers cannot earn paid sick days;
  • The largest industry in Arizona is health care and social assistance. Nationally, more than one-quarter of workers in that industry cannot earn paid sick time;
  • Overall, 26.4 percent of Arizona jobs are considered low wage, and few low-wage jobs allow workers to earn paid sick days; and
  • Nearly 950,000 children in Arizona live in families in which all parents work, but parents with paid sick days often cannot use them to care for children.

Nationally, more than 43 million private sector workers – nearly 40 percent of the country’s workforce – cannot earn paid sick days. That number has remained largely unchanged in recent years, despite a growing body of evidence that shows paid sick days benefit families, businesses and economies; and 85 percent of voters saying they want employers to provide paid sick time. The National Partnership fact sheet concludes that the Healthy Families Act, which would establish a national paid sick days standard of seven paid sick days per year, should be a high priority for Congress.

“State and national level data like these make it painfully clear that employers and lawmakers are not acting quickly enough to establish the paid sick days standards workers and families across the country urgently want and need,” Ness continued. “Access to paid sick days should not depend on where someone lives or what job they hold. The Healthy Families Act is a common sense proposal that has been tested in states and cities across the country. It is long past time for Congress to make its passage a priority.”

Green Job Opportunities for Women

Analysis shows costs of wage gap for Arizona women

An analysis released for Equal Pay Day shows just how much damage the gender-based wage gap is doing to Arizona’s families and economy. Women employed full time in Arizona are paid just 84 cents for every dollar paid to men, amounting to a yearly gap of $7,263. This means that, collectively, Arizona women lose nearly $6 billion every year that could pay for basic goods and services that strengthen the state’s economy and are essential for the more than 306,000 Arizona households headed by women.

The analysis was conducted by the National Partnership for Women & Families when the U.S. Census Bureau released its most recent data. It is being released for the first time today. The full set of findings for Arizona, which has the sixth smallest cents-on-the-dollar gap among the states, can be found here. The National Partnership also found that Latinas in Arizona are paid just 54 cents for every dollar paid to white, non-Hispanic men.

These state-based findings are included in a new national report also released today, An Unlevel Playing Field: America’s Gender-Based Wage Gap, Binds of Discrimination, And A Path Forward. The report features original analysis, never released before, about the country’s wage gap across states, among women of color, and by parental and marital status. It identifies a punishing and pervasive gap that disproportionately harms mothers, single mothers and mothers of color, who can suffer from double and triple binds of discrimination.

“At a time when women’s wages are essential to families and our economy, the persistence of the gender-based wage gap is doing real and lasting damage to women, families, communities and to our nation. It defies common sense that lawmakers are not doing more to stop gender discrimination in wages,” said Debra L. Ness, president of the National Partnership for Women & Families. “This analysis shows that women and families are losing thousands of dollars in critical income each year that could pay for significant amounts of food, rent, gas and other basic necessities. The effects ripple throughout our economy.”

According to the analysis of Arizona, if the gap between men’s and women’s wages were eliminated, a full-time working woman in Arizona could afford food for one more year, mortgage and utilities for six more months, rent for more than eight more months, or 2,100+ more gallons of gas. These basic necessities would be especially important for the 31 percent of Arizona’s women-headed households currently living below the poverty level.

Nationally, women working full time, year round are paid 78 cents for every dollar paid to men, with significant disparities for women of color. African American women and Latinas are paid 64 cents and Latinas are paid 56 cents for every dollar paid to white, non-Hispanic men. The country’s wage gap has been closing at a rate of less than half a cent per year since passage of the Equal Pay Act in 1963. At that rate, experts say America’s women will not be paid equally to men for another 43 years.

“It has been well documented that the wage gap spans geography, race, industry, education level and other factors, and that it is closing at a glacial pace,” Ness continued. “America’s women and families simply cannot afford to wait another four decades for fair pay. It is past time for fair and family friendly workplace policies that will level the playing field and give all women the fair shot they need to support themselves and their families while fully contributing to our economy.”

An Unlevel Playing Field outlines several measures that would help close the wage gap, including fair and family friendly workplace policies. Members of Congress have reintroduced three of the proposals so far this year: the Paycheck Fairness Act, which would help break harmful patterns of pay discrimination and establish stronger workplace protections for women; the Healthy Families Act, which would establish a national paid sick days standard; and the Family And Medical Insurance Leave (FAMILY) Act, which would create a national paid family and medical leave insurance program. Other measures discussed in the report include an increase in the minimum wage and protections for pregnant workers.

The National Partnership’s analysis of the wage gap was released the day before Equal Pay Day, which is April 14 this year. The day marks how far into the year women must work in order to catch up with what men were paid the year before. The state-by-state analysis uses data from the U.S. Census Bureau. The findings for each state, state rankings, analyses specific to women of color and An Unlevel Playing Field are all available at www.NationalPartnership.org/Gap.

mom

Report: Arizona is failing new parents

A new state-by-state analysis shows how little the nation supports and protects working mothers and fathers when a new child arrives – and Arizona is among the states with the worst records. The study, Expecting Better: A State-by-State Analysis of Laws That Help New Parents, is the most comprehensive analysis to date of state laws and regulations governing paid leave and workplace rights for new parents in the United States. Arizona earned a grade of “F,” joining 16 other states that do not provide any support or job protection to new parents beyond what federal law provides.

The analysis was conducted by the National Partnership for Women & Families. The full report, which grades all 50 states and the District of Columbia based on the enactment of select laws that expand upon federal leave and workplace protections, can be found here.

“New mothers and fathers should not have to experience financial hardship at what should be one of the happiest times of their lives,” said National Partnership President Debra L. Ness. “Yet tens of millions of expecting and new parents struggle because our nation fails to provide paid leave and other basic workplace protections. As the president, lawmakers, businesses, workers and advocates gather in the nation’s capital next week to discuss these issues, this study shows how much work lies ahead. America’s families expect and deserve much better. We need national family friendly workplace standards now.”

Public support for family friendly policies like paid family and medical leave, paid sick days, and pregnancy accommodations is strong. A growing body of evidence shows that they promote the health and economic security of families and strengthen businesses and the economy. Yet Expecting Better finds that no state is doing enough to provide these basic workplace supports. California is far ahead, earning a grade of “A-.” On the other end of the spectrum, 17 states received grades of “F.” Most states fall somewhere in between; they are doing something to expand upon minimal federal protections, but not enough.

“This report shows that progress toward a family friendly America is possible, and history demonstrates that state activity can pave the way while providing needed support to working families,” explained Ness. “But the ability of working people in this country, including new and expecting parents, to manage their responsibilities at home and on the job should not depend on where they live. Lawmakers at all levels should take a close look at this study and the evidence that shows the benefits of providing leave and other workplace protections, and then move quickly to establish the standards people urgently need and deserve.”

At the national level, attention to and support for policies that support new and expecting parents has increased in recent years. Hundreds of organizations including the National Partnership are calling on Congress to pass legislation that would establish federal-level protections, including: the Family And Medical Insurance Leave (FAMILY) Act, which would establish a national paid family and medical leave insurance program; the Healthy Families Act, which would set a national paid sick days standard; and the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act, which would help to combat pregnancy discrimination.

President Obama recently called for family friendly workplace policies, including in his State of the Union address this year. For the fifth year in a row, his budget includes a state paid leave fund that would help support states that want to create their own paid leave programs. Only California, New Jersey and Rhode Island currently have paid leave insurance programs. And on Monday, the White House will host a Summit on Working Families in Washington, D.C., to showcase policies that would help working parents and families while bringing the country’s public policies in line with the rest of the world. Members of Congress are also increasingly discussing the challenges working families face.

The United States is one of few countries that do not guarantee working people access to paid leave. Paid leave for new mothers is guaranteed in 181 other nations, and 81 nations guarantee paid leave for new fathers. The United States guarantees neither and has just three national laws – addressing pregnancy discrimination, unpaid family and medical leave, and nursing mother’s rights at work – that help some new and expecting parents. The federal Family and Medical Leave Act provides new parents up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave, but just under 60 percent of the workforce is eligible for its protections and many cannot afford to take the unpaid leave it provides.

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Unequal Wages Cost Phoenix Women $3.8 Billion

A new analysis released for Equal Pay Day tomorrow reveals that the Phoenix area’s gender-based wage gap is punishing local families and the economy. Women who are employed full time in the Phoenix area are paid 85 cents for every dollar paid to men, amounting to a yearly gap in wages of $6,685. Collectively, this amounts to a loss of nearly $3.8 billion in income every year – money that could strengthen the local economy and provide critical support to the more than 198,000 Phoenix area households headed by women.

The analysis was conducted by the National Partnership for Women & Families, based on U.S. Census Bureau data. The National Partnership analyzed the wage gap in the country’s 50 largest metropolitan areas and in all 50 states. It found that, statewide, women in Arizona are paid 85 cents for every dollar paid to men.

“This new analysis illustrates the great harm to families, states and metropolitan areas caused by the pervasive gender-based wage gap,” said Debra L. Ness, president of the National Partnership for Women & Families. “With most women serving as essential breadwinners for their families, the loss of this critical income has devastating consequences. Local, state and federal lawmakers should make ending gender discrimination in pay and promotions a much higher priority.”

According to the analysis, if the gap between men’s and women’s wages in the Phoenix area were eliminated, each full-time working woman could afford to pay for food for nearly one more year, buy 1800+ more gallons of gas, pay mortgage and utilities for five more months or pay rent for seven more months. These basic necessities would be particularly important for the nearly 62,000 women-headed households in the Phoenix area that currently live below the poverty level.

Nationally, women who hold full-time jobs are paid just 77 cents for every dollar paid to men who hold full-time jobs. African American women and Latinas fare worse, being paid 64 cents and just 55 cents, respectively, for every dollar paid to white, non-Hispanic men. This wage gap has been closing at a rate of less than half a cent per year since passage of the Equal Pay Act in 1963. At that rate, it is estimated that women will not be paid equally for more than 40 years.

“Fifty years ago this year, the Equal Pay Act became law. Yet a punishing wage gap persists for women across the country,” Ness continued. “We must do more to close the wage gap, which is present in every part of the country and every industry, and affects workers with every level of education. Congress and the president can and must do more. We are urging Congress to prioritize passage of the Paycheck Fairness Act and urging President Obama to take executive action to ensure that federal contractors do not discriminate in pay.  It is past time the country finally make gender-based pay discrimination a thing of the past.”

The Paycheck Fairness Act would close loopholes in the Equal Pay Act, help to break harmful patterns of wage discrimination, and establish stronger workplace protections for women; it was reintroduced in Congress in January. President Obama has been a vocal supporter of the bill, calling on Congress to pass it in his State of the Union address in February. Since then, the National Partnership and other advocates have urged the president to issue an executive order on fair pay, which would set an example for the nation’s employers and help ensure that taxpayer dollars are not used to support discriminatory pay practices.

The National Partnership’s research on the wage gap was released the day before Equal Pay Day – which marks how far into the new year women must work in order to catch up with what men were paid the year before. The analysis uses data from the U.S. Census Bureau and spans all 50 states and the country’s 50 largest metropolitan areas. Reports for each locality, along with state rankings, are available at www.NationalPartnership.org/Gap.