We like numbers! We’ve previously identified 10 reasons why raising the minimum wage is a women’s issue. Well, we’ve been crunching some new employment and wage data and wanted to share these new six facts (and a chart!) that underscore why it’s critical to raise the minimum wage and advance equal pay and equal opportunity for women:
Three-quarters: The share of workers in the 10 largest low-wage occupations (defined in this analysis as those with median hourly wages of less than $10.10 per hour) who are women (76 percent), compared to 47 percent of all workers who are women.
Five years ago today, the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act was the first bill that President Obama ever signed. The Act restored critical protections against pay discrimination that the Supreme Court stripped away in its disastrous decision in Ledbetter v. Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co. It made clear that the time limit for pursuing pay discrimination claims under federal law on the basis of sex, race, national origin, age, religion and disability re-starts each time an employee receives a discriminatory paycheck – reversing the Supreme Court’s holding that the stop-watch on bringing pay discrimination claims runs only from the time of an initial pay-setting decision. This common-sense law kept the courthouse doors from being slammed shut on countless women who, like Lilly Ledbetter, only discover years after an initial discriminatory decision was made that they are being paid less than their male counterparts.
The Ledbetter Act has resulted in real, concrete gains for victims of pay discrimination. Wage disparities often go undetected because employers threaten to punish employees who voluntarily share salary information with their coworkers. Because of the Ledbetter Act, workers who learn that they have been paid unfairly have been able to challenge and remedy pay discrimination that otherwise would have gone unchecked. Read more »
Although it’s hard to imagine, many Americans who work on federal contracts are paid very low wages. One survey of federal-contract employees found that 74 percent earn less than $10 an hour, one in five depend on Medicaid for their healthcare [PDF], and 14 percent rely on food stamps. Once the minimum wage is in effect for employees on new federal services contracts, there are some families that will immediately be pulled out of poverty, and many others that will see a tangible improvement in their economic well-being. Raising pay for these workers is an important step toward raising the minimum wage to $10.10 for all workers, which would lift millions more out of poverty and – because women are the majority of workers who would benefit – would help close the wage gap.
This great news from the White House also highlights the critical steps the President can take on his own to lift American families out of poverty and close the wage gap. Here’s what President Obama could do next to ensure that women earn their fair share: Read more »
Today the Bureau of Labor Statistics released new data on union membership for 2013. The data show women’s union membership held steady in 2013 after dropping sharply the year before – and that’s a relief for women seeking better wages and equal pay.
NWLC analysis reveals that the wage gap among union members is half the size of the wage gap among non-union workers and female union members earn over $200 per week more than women who are not represented by unions—an increase that represents a larger union premium than men receive.
This release is especially timely. Earlier this week the Supreme Court heard arguments in a case that challenges the right of low-wage workers, overwhelmingly women, who provide home care services under Illinois’ Medicaid program—and potentially the right of all public employees—to be represented by unions. Today’s data make it clear that this case has high stakes for working women and men.
Women working full-time year-round in New Hampshire still typically earn only about 77 cents for every dollar earned by men – and women of color fare worse. Looks like New Hampshire might do something about it. Today the New Hampshire House is holding a hearing on a bill that would ban retaliation against workers who talk about their wages. (The Senate bill gets a hearing on Thursday). If this bill passes, the Granite state would join states like Vermont, New Jersey, and New Mexico that have recently improved their equal pay laws along with states like Illinois, Colorado, California and Michigan that have long banned penalties for against workers who are trying to gather enough information to challenge their unfair pay.
Pay secrecy policies can keep women in the dark about their pay, making pay discrimination nearly impossible to detect. Ask Lilly Ledbetter – she worked at a Goodyear plant making less than all of the other male managers for almost 20 years without knowing she was paid less. Goodyear's gag rule supported the discrimination. Read more »
A new report from the Pew Research Center states that Millennial women are “near parity” with men in in the workplace. They report that young women (ages 25 to 34) had median hourly earnings that were 93 percent of young men’s median hourly earnings. While we would love to welcome the news that young women and men are almost equals in the workplace, there is a lot more to that story.
First, some clarifications about calculations and defining the wage gap:
Pew focuses on hourly wages because women work fewer hours than men and include both full- and part-time workers. They explain their reasons for these choices here.
We at NWLC calculate the wage gap using median annual earnings for full-time, year-round workers only. We do this to control for some of the differences in hours and full-time/part-time status that would otherwise skew the earnings ratio, while still reflecting some of the factors, including occupational segregation and employment discrimination, that prevent women from achieving fair pay.
Using either calculation it is true that younger women experience a smaller gender wage gap than older women. By our calculation, young women who work full-time, year-round are typically paid 88 percent of what their male peers are paid—a wage gap of 12 percent. While this is markedly better than the overall earnings ratio, which has been 77 percent for the last decade(and which Pew calculates at 84 percent using median hourly wages), it is still nowhere near parity.
Young women typically make 88 cents for every dollar young men make. How does this add up?
D.R. Horton, Inc. v. National Labor Relations Board – a case decided this week by the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals – puts yet another roadblock in the path of employees who try to come together to enforce their rights. In a 2-1 opinion, the Fifth Circuit upheld a construction company’s policy of requiring its employees to sign an agreement to arbitrate all employment disputes and to forgo any opportunity to pursue their claims through a class action. The court’s ruling overturned a National Labor Relations Board order holding that the employer’s policy was invalid because it violated the right of workers to engage in collective activity under the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA).
The majority reasoned that the Federal Arbitration Act (FAA) requires the enforcement of arbitration agreements, including this one, even though its enforcement meant trampling employees’ ability to come together to challenge the terms and conditions of their employment under the NLRA. The dissent argued forcefully that the FAA does not require litigants to “forgo the substantive rights afforded by a statute.” The dissent further argued that because the FAA permits invalidation of an arbitration agreement for any “grounds as exist at law or in equity for the revocation of a contract,” this arbitration agreement should be invalidated for violating employees’ rights to engage in “concerted activity” under the NLRA. Read more »
When it comes to salary negotiation, managers ought to check their biases at the door, and make decisions about employees based on merit. But a recent article from TODAY Money notes that women who ask for more money are often negatively perceived by their supervisors as being greedy, demanding, or not nice. Research has documented that women pay a social cost for negotiating pay that men do not experience; one study found that when women negotiated they were considered less desirable by hiring decision-makers, and their colleagues had less desire to work with them. Research also shows that women have greater concerns than men about experiencing backlash for negotiating pay, and that these concerns are very much grounded in reality. This backlash, in itself, is a form of workplace discrimination.
In 2012 women working full-time, year-round made only 77 cents for every dollar that men made — resulting in a wage gap of 23 cents. This means that there has not been progress in closing the gender wage gap in this country in over a decade. But for women of color, the situation is even worse: in 2012 African-American and Hispanic women working full time, year round made only 64 cents and 54 cents respectively for every dollar that non-Hispanic white men made. The persistence of the wage gap is particularly harmful to minority women and their families.
What's more, when it comes to the wage gap experienced by women of color, not all states are created equal. Today the U.S. Census Bureau released new data from the American Community Survey which demonstrate that while women of color experience a significant wage gap in every state, some states are lagging especially far behind. Read more »
Though the government shutdown is over and the threat of default has passed (for now), Congress remains wildly unpopular; many doubt that our elected representatives are as concerned with making the country work for ordinary Americans as they are with scoring political points. It doesn’t help that the latest jobs numbers show an economic recovery that is still painfully slow and leaving large numbers of people behind.
Providing paid family and medical leave through a new fund to which both employees and employers would contribute, modeled after successful state programs in New Jersey and California.
Raising the minimum wage to $10.10 per hour, raising the minimum cash wage for tipped workers to 70 percent of the minimum wage, and indexing both wages to keep pace with inflation, as proposed by the Fair Minimum Wage Act.