Debates about women and the workplace

Women and the workforce

This week’s roundup brings you five articles highlighting the debates currently underway regarding women and the workplace including the Paycheck Fairness Act, Women’s Economic Security Act, minimum wage and flexible working.

  • Senate Committee Debates Fairness of Paycheck Fairness Act TLNT: “Weaken an employer’s ability to raise the ‘factor other than sex’ affirmative defense in a wage discrimination Postcase. Under the more stringent standard, an employer would have to prove that a pay differential was based on a ‘bona fide factor other than sex, such as education, training, or experience,’ and that this other factor is job-related and consistent with business necessity. An employee would be able to rebut this claim by a showing that an alternate business practice exists that would not result in the disparity.
  • Harry Reid not budging on minimum wage Politico: “At a news conference Wednesday alongside much of his caucus, a combative Reid battled with reporters who questioned how the Senate can actually raise the minimum wage if it doesn’t compromise with Republicans to garner the necessary 60 votes. Reid and the bill’s chief sponsor, Sen. Tom Harkin of Iowa, both say they won’t budge on a rate of $10.10 an hour, even as Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) tries to write a proposal that Republicans can support.”
  • White House: Minimum Wage Hike Will Help Close The Gender Wage Gap Huffington Post: “Like the White House, Congressional Democrats have made a point of framing the minimum wage as a gender equity issue. Last year, Democratic leaders made the wage floor a central plank to their ‘women’s economic agenda,’ which also includes guaranteeing paid sick leave, expanding affordable child care and passing the Paycheck Fairness Act to address the wage gap. Women disproportionately occupy the ranks of the low-wage workforce. They account for the majority of workers in the 10 largest jobs that pay below $10.10 per hour, including housekeepers, cashiers and childcare workers.”
  • Women’s Economic Security Act advances in Senate Finance and Commerce: “A top item on the House DFL’s pre-session agenda continued its steady march through the Legislature as a Senate panel on Monday unanimously approved the Women’s Economic Security Act, a wide-ranging package of bills that features such hard-to-oppose provisions as a doubling of unpaid maternity leave, more workplace protections for pregnant and nursing women, and an extension of unemployment benefits to victims of sexual assault and stalking.”
  • The flexible working debate shouldn’t be made into an argument between women The Guardian: “A survey of women aged between 28 and 40 confirms that a significant number – 54 percent of a big sample – feel that childless women have to work longer hours than mothers. There is also a pull-out quote from one respondent complaining that a ‘women friendly’ workplace means just a mother-friendly one. The report found a huge number of other important and revealing attitudes about career expectations, progression opportunities and the different experiences of men and women.”

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