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Womenstake, NWLC's Blog

Another Week, Another Bad Vote on Women's Health

Posted by Leila Abolfazli, Senior Counsel | Posted on: May 14, 2015 at 10:44 am

Back in January of this year, the House of Representatives was all set to vote on H.R. 36, a nationwide ban on abortions at twenty weeks. But a slight hiccup forced them to abandon the bill and instead vote on another really bad bill that would ban virtually all insurance coverage of abortion.

What was the hiccup, you ask? Did they realize that women have a constitutional right to abortion and H.R. 36 would violate that right? Or did they suddenly wake up, remember they aren't medical experts and conclude that they shouldn't meddle with such private, reproductive health decisions?

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Covered Through a Parent's Plan? Your Prenatal Services are Covered

Posted by Dania Palanker, Senior Counsel | Posted on: May 12, 2015 at 03:35 pm

The Obama Administration gave expectant moms a belated mother’s day gift. Guidance issued yesterday clarifies that new insurance plans must cover preventive prenatal services without cost sharing for all dependents — including expectant mothers enrolled on a parent’s plan. This is great news for expectant mothers who discover once they are pregnant that they don’t have maternity coverage under their parent’s plan.

What New Plans Must Cover

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Care Work is Real Work — And Must Be Compensated as Such

Posted by Agata Pelka, Fellow | Posted on: May 11, 2015 at 10:48 am

Thursday morning, the D.C. Circuit heard oral arguments in Home Care Association of America vs. Weil, the Department of Labor’s appeal of a district court decision vacating central provisions of new regulations extending basic protections under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA)—like minimum wage and overtime pay—to nearly two million home care workers.

Shortly after the arguments, workers and advocates gathered on the front steps of the courthouse for a press conference to put the case in context and to bring forward the stories of the workers and the families seeking home care who will be affected by the case. Workers spoke about the struggle to care for their patients while barely being able to make ends meet for their own families. Wages in the field are low: one quarter of workers are paid below the federal minimum wage, and the median wage is below $10 an hour. On top of that, home care workers are not ensured overtime pay like other hourly workers under the FLSA. Paula Wilson, a home care worker, spoke about the close relationships she forms with her consumers, and how she will often stay longer with them when they are going through periods of stress or aggravated illness but will not be compensated for that time. She emphasized that home care is not a profession where you can just clock out at the end of the day—but that the current system exploits workers for their compassion, instead of fairly compensating them for improving the quality of care that patients receive.

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Everyone Should Have a Fair Shot As the Economy Rebounds

Posted by Anne Morrison, Fellow | Posted on: May 08, 2015 at 03:54 pm

Our analysis of today’s release of April’s jobs data shows that while overall job growth was strong, unemployment rates for Black women and men remained disturbingly high. In addition, women gained just 30 percent of the jobs added last month. While the economy rebounds, lawmakers need to make sure everyone has a fair shot.

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Critical Services for At-Risk Girls in D.C. Are At Risk Themselves

If you live in Washington, D.C., listen up: we’ve got a special alert for you! The D.C City Council has proposed to eliminate from its budget all funding for Crittenton Services of Greater Washington. That’s $700,000 that currently helps to empower and enable teen girls in DC to stay in school, avoid unwanted pregnancy, earn a diploma, and go on to college and careers. That $700,000 currently supports programs for nearly 250 at-risk girls in D.C. public schools. Without this funding, Crittenton will have to close the doors of its D.C. programs.

You can help to keep that from happening. The City Council’s Health and Human Services Committee is set to vote on its budget legislation this Monday, May 11. Now’s the time to raise your voice and make sure these programs can continue to help teen girls work toward their goals.

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What Is "Appropriate" Prom Attire, Anyway?

Posted by Yessica Gomez, Intern | Posted on: May 08, 2015 at 09:43 am

With prom season in full swing, I have been reminiscing about my own prom. My school — for better or worse — allowed students to wear what they wanted and to bring who they wanted, as long as the date did not violate any statutory rape clauses. Everyone was able to dance and enjoy this one night, where the focus should be on having a great time with your peers that you have spent years with, bidding each other farewell with an epic dance party.

However, many girls across the country are not able to enjoy prom the way I once did and the way many adults before them have. Why? The dress codes for prom have become overwhelmingly stringent in the name of keeping girls from being promiscuous and “compromising their character.” Many schools force students, especially girls, to conform to “traditional,” stereotypical ideals of appropriate attire at their proms. At one school, a student was asked to leave the prom because school officials thought her dress was too revealing, even though the mother and daughter had worked hard to find a dress that fit all of the school’s dress code rules.

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Another Step Toward Fair Pay: Reforming Overtime Pay Protections

Posted by Joan Entmacher, Vice President for Family Economic Security | Posted on: May 05, 2015 at 03:02 pm

Today, Secretary of Labor Tom Perez announced that the Department of Labor has drafted a rule to reform overtime pay protections. Along with raising the minimum wage—which would rise to $12 an hour by 2020 under the Raise the Wage Act which was introduced in Congress last week—requiring that workers with modest salaries are compensated for all the hours they work would boost the earnings of millions of hard-working women and men and strengthen our communities and economy.

A little history: the federal Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938, in addition to setting a minimum wage, established the basic 40-hour workweek. Hourly workers and workers with salaries below a specified threshold, set by regulation, are entitled to overtime pay—at least time-and-a half their regular rate of pay—for hours in excess of 40 per week. The Act exempts more highly paid professional and managerial employees from the overtime rules.

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