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Rhode Island

Add "Accommodating Pregnant Workers" to Rhode Island's Reasons to be Proud

Rhode Island was the thirteenth state to enter the Union in May of 1790, and the first of the thirteen colonies to renounce allegiance to the British monarchy.  As we approach Independence Day, Rhode Island has a lot to be proud of. And now it can add accommodating pregnant workers to that list.

Just last week, Governor Raimondo signed Rhode Island’s pregnancy accommodation bill into law. With this bill, passed unanimously, Rhode Island joins fifteen other states that make it unmistakable: employers must provide reasonable accommodations for pregnant workers. Read more »

Rhode Island's Working to Ensure Fairness for Pregnant Workers. First Stop, Central Falls!

Add Central Falls, Rhode Island to the list of cities with strong protections for pregnant workers!

On Monday, Central Falls City Council voted 5-to-1 to pass the Gender Equity in the Workplace Ordinance, which requires employers to make reasonable accommodations for employees who have limitations in their ability to work arising out of pregnancy, childbirth, or related medical conditions. Central Falls joins New York City, Philadelphia, New Jersey, and West Virginia—all jurisdictions that have recently strengthened protections for pregnant workers, and done so with unanimous or near unanimous support. As a result, employers will be clearly required to provide pregnant workers with the same types of accommodations they already provide to workers with disabilities, and fewer women will be forced off the job at the moment they can least afford it.

While many women can work through pregnancy without any changes in their daily work, some women need small modifications in job policies or duties in order to continue working safely through their pregnancies. Yet, all too often when a pregnant woman requests a temporary change in workplace duties or policies, she is pushed out of work or forced onto unpaid leave by her employer. This leaves pregnant women across the country with a decision no one should have to make—a paycheck or a healthy pregnancy. Read more »

When Will the Minimum Wage Go Up?

It's a fitting question to ask this week, which marks the 75th anniversary of the Fair Labor Standards Act, the landmark law that established the first federal minimum wage. And it's a particularly important question for women, who make up nearly two-thirds of minimum wage workers nationwide.

The answer, though, depends a lot on where you live. A majority of states follow the federal minimum wage, which is not scheduled to rise even though it has been stuck at $7.25 an hour for almost four years — and for tipped workers in states that follow the federal standard, the minimum cash wage has been frozen at a shockingly low $2.13 per hour for more than 20 years. But in states like Washington, Colorado, Ohio, and Vermont, the minimum wage will automatically rise in January 2014 to keep up with inflation, and minimum wage increases recently enacted in New YorkConnecticut, and Rhode Island will also begin to take effect in 2014. 

To make it easy for you to find out what’s happening with the minimum wage in your state, the National Women's Law Center just released this handy interactive map

Find out how the low minimum wage affects women in your state

You can click on any state to see its minimum wage and tipped minimum wage, along with the share of minimum wage workers who are women, the next scheduled increase in the minimum wage, and any recent action on the minimum wage in the state legislature.  Read more »

States Taking the Lead on Higher Minimum Wages

It’s been a busy few weeks on the minimum wage front, as policymakers in a slew of states have moved to raise wages for low-paid workers. If you follow our blog, you already know that minimum wage increases are on the agenda in Maryland and New York – and you know that this is especially good news for women, who make up the majority of minimum wage workers in those states and across the country.

While a federal minimum wage increase – like the one proposed in the Fair Minimum Wage Act last year – is needed to boost pay for minimum wage and tipped workers throughout the U.S., it’s great to see momentum building at the state level. Here’s a quick run-down of recent developments:

  • California. A bill pending in the Assembly, AB-10, would increase the minimum wage from $8.00 per hour to $8.25 in 2014, $8.75 in 2015, and $9.25 in 2016, then adjust the wage annually for inflation beginning in 2017.
  • Connecticut. A bill pending in the Senate, S.B. 387, would raise the minimum wage from $8.25 per hour to $9.00 in July 2013 and $9.75 in July 2014, with annual indexing beginning in July 2015. NWLC’s new fact sheet shows that over 246,000 Connecticut workers would get a raise by 2014 under this proposal – and about six in ten of those workers would be women.

Governor Chafee Signs Rhode Island Minimum Wage Increase

It’s always nice to start the weekend off with a bit of good news. Starting next year, Rhode Island minimum wage workers will get a small raise. Governor Lincoln Chafee has signed a bill that would raise the minimum wage to $7.75 per hour in the state, a 35 cent per hour increase.

As I mentioned previously, this increase falls well short of what is needed, but it’s good to see a state taking a step in the right direction. There are minimum wage bills pending in several other states – New York, New Jersey, Illinois and Massachusetts– that would do much more for minimum wage workers, the majority of whom are women, but Rhode Island is the only state to enact an increase so far this year.  So, thank you to Governor Chafee and the Rhode Island legislature for recognizing that minimum wage workers deserve a raise! Read more »

Early Learning Challenge Grantees and Child Care Assistance Policies

Last week the winners of the first round of the Early Learning Challenge grant competition were announced.

The 9 states selected to receive the grant awards (California, Delaware, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, North Carolina, Ohio, Rhode Island, and Washington) have laid out comprehensive, collaborative strategies to achieve stronger early learning systems that increase low-income children’s access to high-quality early care and education.

We hope that the states’ efforts will include steps to address continuing gaps in their child care assistance policies. Because according to our analysis of data from our recent report, many of these states are falling short in providing the help low-income families need to afford reliable, high-quality care. Be sure to check out the highlights of our analysis here! Read more »