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Returning a $1,000 Tip is Awful, But Regularly Making $2.13 an Hour? That's Outrageous

Posted by Emily Wales, Fellow | Posted on: June 11, 2014 at 09:30 am

Let’s say your employer pays you just $2.13 an hour (the cash wage for many tipped workers around the country). Then you get an incredibly generous tip of $1,000 – that an anonymous customer wanted you to have (as only the luckiest servers in the country might get). And your employer won’t let you keep it.

I think that’s a pretty clear case of adding insult to injury. The math might look a little like this:

Insult ($2.13/hour) + Injury (taking away your once-in-a-lifetime $1,000 tip) = YOUR CASH WAGE IS STILL $2.13 AN HOUR.*

*Here’s the deal: Your employer is allowed to pay you a minimum cash wage of just $2.13 an hour. You’re still entitled to the full minimum wage of $7.25 an hour, counting your tips, but lots of tipped workers fall short because of wage theft and other illegal practices.

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Way to Go Colorado! Much Needed Child Care Assistance Signed into Law in the Centennial State

Posted by Susanna Birdsong, Fellow | Posted on: June 09, 2014 at 02:35 pm

Newsflash: Child care is expensive

In a majority of states, the cost of child care for an infant exceeds the cost of public college tuition.  That cost pinches the wallets of all families with young children in paid child care.  For low-income families, it’s much more than a pinch—on average, families in poverty who pay for care spend nearly one-third of their income on that care.

Child care costs in Colorado are particularly high relative to median income—on this measure, Colorado ranks among the least affordable.  But parents will have help with these costs thanks to new state legislation signed into law last month.  These new laws will offer much-needed assistance to low-income families with young children.   

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Five Facts about Working Mothers for Mother's Equal Pay Day

Posted by | Posted on: June 06, 2014 at 03:29 pm

Hallmark doesn’t make a card to give mothers on June 12th – but they should. June 12th is Mother’s Equal Pay Day—the day that marks how far mothers have to work into this year (in addition to working all of last year) to earn as much as fathers did last year alone.

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Women's Employment Update: Women’s job growth continues with 86,000 new jobs, but public sector job losses undercut gains

Posted by Alana Eichner, Program Assistant | Posted on: June 06, 2014 at 02:49 pm

This month’s job numbers from the Bureau of Labor Statistics included a notable first: for the first time since December 2007, there are more jobs than at the start of the recession. Although this represents progress, it is important to note that in order for the economy to have enough jobs for all the new people joining the labor force each month, it would take another 4 years of adding 217,000 jobs each month.

In May, women’s gains accounted for 40 percent of job growth, with 86,000 of the 217,000 new jobs since April. However, look a little closer and the picture is less rosy.

What stood out to me right away were women’s losses in public sector jobs. Although public sector employment overall increased by 1,000 this month, the gains were all in men’s jobs. Women lost 8,000 public sector jobs in May and since the recovery began in June 2009, women’s public sector job losses have wiped out 13.0 percent of their private sector gains. Men’s public sector job losses have wiped out 5.6 percent of their private sector gains. Government cuts resulting in public sector job losses have slowed the recovery, and this is especially true for women.

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A Bigger Bite: Despite Increased Productivity, Workers' Wages Fall Behind

Posted by Emily Wales, Fellow | Posted on: June 05, 2014 at 09:20 am

The Little Red Hen knew what was up: You help bake the pie. You help eat the pie.

Okay, so the hen was actually working with bread, but the principle was the same: When you contribute your work to a project, you’re entitled to some of the rewards. Right?

The Economic Policy Institute (EPI) launched a new initiative yesterday, Raising America’s Pay, designed to highlight the critical need for wage growth in the United States. As EPI puts it, wage growth is the central economic challenge in our country today – contributing to social inequality, high poverty rates, and a lack of opportunities for social mobility. At EPI’s kick-off event this morning, U.S. Secretary of Labor Thomas Perez put it simply: More than ever before, workers are receiving a smaller size of the pie that they helped bake. And if that just doesn’t feel fair, it’s because it isn’t.

In the last 30+ years, wages have stagnated or declined for the majority of American workers – and weak wage growth doesn’t only affect workers with limited education. College-educated workers have seen poor wage increases, as well.

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Senate Confirms Three District Court Judges Today

Posted by Amy K. Matsui, Senior Counsel and Director of Women and the Courts | Posted on: June 04, 2014 at 02:26 pm

Today, the Senate confirmed three district court nominees:  Mark G. Mastroianni, to the District of Massachusetts, Bruce Howe Hendricks, to the District of South Carolina, and Tanya S. Chutkan, to the federal district court in the District of Columbia.

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Protections against Workplace Harassment are Needed to Improve Women's Economic Security

Posted by Amelia Bell, Intern | Posted on: May 27, 2014 at 01:52 pm

I got to attend the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee roundtable hearing on issues affecting economic security for working women last week. Led by Senator Harkin, the discussion highlighted many forms of employment discrimination working women face. From pervasive sexual harassment to unpredictable scheduling practices, women face many obstacles in the workplace that hurt their employment opportunities and economic security. The Senate hearing continued the discussion that has started in Congress on legislative strategies to improve economic security for women and their families.

NWLC Vice President for Education and Employment, Fatima Goss Graves, testified regarding the pervasive sexual harassment women face, particularly those in low-wage jobs, and discussed the recent erosion of avenues of recourse available to these women. In the late 1990s, the Supreme Court established that an employer can be liable for a supervisor’s harassment of an employee unless the employer can show that it took steps to prevent harassment and to address harassment when it occurred. However, as Fatima’s testimony highlighted, the Supreme Court’s recent decision in Vance v. Ball State University undermined that longstanding principle, instead holding that the heightened protections from harassment apply only to supervisors who have the power to hire and fire an employee and do not apply to lower-level supervisors who instead only direct daily work activities.

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Senate Confirms Two Circuit Court Judges This Week

Posted by Amy K. Matsui, Senior Counsel and Director of Women and the Courts | Posted on: May 23, 2014 at 02:53 pm

On Monday, the Senate confirmed Gregg Costa to the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals. The Senate left for its Memorial Day recess yesterday after confirming another circuit court judge, David Barron to the First Circuit Court of Appeals. This caps off a month in which a total of 15 judicial nominees were confirmed (3 to the Courts of Appeals and 12 to the District Courts). Moreover, yesterday, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid filed cloture on three district court nominees, setting the stage for votes during the first week in June, after the Senate returns from its recess.

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