IWPR Research News Roundup – January 2019

IWPR Research News Roundup – January 2019

RESEARCH MAKING THE NEWS 

The Class of 2019 are More Likely to be Older and Have Children 

Jillian Berman |  | February 2019

Like 40% of students who enter college, life got in the way of Shawnte’ Cain completing her degree. Cain, 39, began her college career in 1997 at Wayne State University in Detroit. She successfully made it through three years at the school, but just as she could see her degree on the horizon, her grandmother fell ill. School fell by the wayside as Cain cared for her and her own financial obligations rose.

Citing: Completing College – National 2018 – by NSC Research Center, December, 2018

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How the 1% Profit Off of Racial Economic Inequality

Derick Asante-Muhammad and Chuck Collins |  | January 2019

As people of color make up a larger share of the diversifying US population, that persistent racial wealth divide is bringing down America’s median wealth. But while wealth at the middle falters, it’s soaring at the top. In other words, the 1% are profiting off ongoing racial economic inequality. All this is happening against a backdrop of seemingly good economic news. Black and Latino unemployment rates reached historic lows in 2018, and median income has slowly inched up for all households in the last few years

Citing: Dreams Deferred: How Enriching the 1% Widens the Radical Wealth Divide at Institute for Policy Studies, Jan, 2019

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The Global Gender Gap will Take More Than 100 Years to Close: Here Are the Countries with the Highest and Lowest Gender Gap around the World

Will Martin and Skye Gould |  | January 2019

It will take more than 200 years for economic gender equality to emerge, and 108 years to completely close the global gender gap across politics, health, education, according to the latest report from the World Economic Forum. The WEF’s annual Global Gender Gap Report compares attitudes towards gender equality around the world. It considered factors such as educational opportunities available to each gender, life expectancy, literacy rates, the number of women in professional positions, and in positions of power in each country.

Citing: The Global Gender Gap Report 2018 at World Economic Forum, Dec, 2018

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Millennial Women Are Winning the Jobs Recovery as Men Struggle

Jeanna Smialek |  | January 2019

Her case is far from unique. The share of 25- to 34-year-old women who are employed or looking has staged a sharp turnaround since 2016. The group since December 2015 has accounted for 86 percent of growth in the workforce of prime-working-age women, who are 25- to 54-years-old, and for 46 percent of gains in the prime-age labor pool as a whole.

Citing: Current Employment Statistics Highlights by Analysts of the National Estimates Branch Current Employment Statistic Survey at U.S Bureau of Labor Statistics, Jan 2019

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NEW RESEARCH REPORTS

The Number of Unionized U.S Workers Edged Lower to the 16.4 Million in 2018

Heidi Shierholz | Economic Policy Institute | January 2019

New data on union membership from the Bureau of Labor Statistics released on Friday showed 16.38 million unionized workers in 2018, down from 16.44 million in 2017. However, because employment of wage and salary workers grew by 1.6 percent between 2017 and 2018, the share of workers represented by a union declined by a more significant amount, from 11.9 percent to 11.7 percent.

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Gender in the Labor Market: the Role of Equal Opportunity and Family- Friendly Policies

Elizabeth L. Doran, Ann P. Bartel, and Jane Waldfogel | National Bureau of Economic Research | December 2018

Although the gender wage gap in the U.S. has narrowed, women’s career trajectories diverge from men’s after the birth of children, suggesting a potential role for family-friendly policies. We provide new evidence on employer provision of these policies. Using the American Time Use Survey, we find that women are less likely than men to have access to any employer-provided paid leave and this differential is entirely explained by part-time status. Using the NLSY97, we find that young women are more likely to have access to specifically designated paid parental leave, even in part-time jobs. Both datasets show insignificant gender differentials in access to employer-subsidized child care and access to scheduling flexibility. We conclude with a discussion of policy implications.

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Female Earnings Inequality: The Changing Role of Family Characteristics on the Extensive and Intensive Margins

David Card & Dean R. Hyslop | National Bureau of Economic Research | December 2018

Although women make up nearly half the U.S. workforce, most studies of earnings inequality focus on men. This is at least in part because of the complexity of modeling both the decision to work (i.e., the extensive margin) and the level of earnings conditional on work (the intensive margin). In this paper we document a series of descriptive facts about female earnings inequality using data for three cohorts in the PSID. We show that inequality in annual earnings of women fell sharply between the late 1960s and the mid-1990s, with a particularly large decline in the extensive margin component. We then fit earnings-generating models that incorporate both intensive- and extensive-margin dynamics to data for the three cohorts. Our models suggest that over 80% of the decline in female earnings inequality can be attributed to a weakening of the link between family-based factors (including the number of children of different ages and the presence and incomes of partners) and the intensive and extensive margins of earnings determination.

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Gender Equality and Poverty Are Intrinsically Linked

Rense Nieuwenhuis, Teresa Munzi, Jorg Neugschwender, Heba Omar, & Flaviana Palmisano | UN Women | December 2018

This discussion paper provides an updated analysis of gendered economic inequality in high- and middle-income countries. A review of the literature demonstrates that such an analysis needs to explicitly recognize that gender, poverty, and (economic) inequality are intrinsically linked. Specifically, the paper addresses two sets of questions: First, how do intra-family resource allocation and distribution patterns both reflect and shape gender inequalities in power and well-being, and what factors—including policy-related ones—can mitigate these inequalities? Second, how do families as gendered institutions contribute to broader socio-economic inequalities, and what can be done to reduce/reverse these inequalities? Using data from the LIS Database, this paper shows considerable differences among 42 countries with respect to how likely women were to have their own income. The period from 2000 to 2010/2014 saw increasing rates of own incomes as well as women’s incomes constituting larger shares in total household income. A key finding is that, in countries where many women have an income of their own, relative poverty rates are lower.

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Big Business Bias: Employment Discrimination and Sexual Harassment at Large Corporations

Philip Mattera | GoodJobsFirst | January 2019

Most of the suits ended in confidential settlements. Looking only at cases with disclosed verdicts or settlements, 189 Fortune 500 companies have paid $1.9 billion in penalties: $356 million in 238 cases resolved by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, $65 million in 85 cases handled by the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs, and $1.5 billion in 176 private lawsuits. Adding in cases against corporations from the rest of the Fortune 1000, the Fortune Global 500 and the Forbes list of America’s Largest Private companies brings the total of disclosed penalties to $2.7 billion, including $588 million from 329 EEOC actions, $81 million from 117 OFCCP cases, and $2 billion from 234 private lawsuits.

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Americans’ Perspectives on New Retirement Realities and the Longevity Bonus.

Merrill Lynch Bank of American Corporation | January 2019

Age Wave, in partnership with Bank of America Merrill Lynch, undertook nine landmark studies focused on all aspects of life in retirement. To complete this body of work, the Age Wave team reviewed thousands of papers, reports and datasets, conducted over 140 expert interviews and 43 focus groups, surveyed 50,000+ respondents, and put in 70,000+ collective work hours.

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Racial and Ethnic Disparities in Access to and Use of Paid Family and Medical Leave: Evidence from Four Nationally Representative Datasets

Ann P. Bartel et al. | Monthly Labor Review | January 2019

Statistics on overall access to and use of various types of paid family and medical leave for the U.S. workforce are widely available. However, much less is known about disparities in paid-leave access and use by race and ethnicity. This article examines this question, using data from four nationally representative surveys—the American Time Use Survey Leave Module, the Annual Social and Economic Supplement to the Current Population Survey, the National Study of the Changing Workforce, and the Survey of Income and Program Participation. The article’s most consistent finding is that Hispanic workers have lower rates of paid-leave access and use than their White non-Hispanic counterparts.

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IWPR Research News Roundup – December 2018

RESEARCH MAKING THE NEWS 

Working Women are Underrepresented in the C-Suite – and in Google Images.

Andrew Keshner |  | 12.18.2018

Men seem to get first preference when researchers from the D.C.-based nonprofit think tank searched for people in certain professions. What’s more, women showed up farther down in the results overall. Men usually appeared on average about two images into the results, while woman showed approximately four images in. Pew came to its conclusions after reviewing U.S. Bureau of Labor 2017 statistics for 105 common occupations and comparing them with which pictures popped up in a Google Image search for those professions.

Cites: Gender and Jobs in Online Image SearchbyOnyi Lam, Stefan Wojcik, Brain Broderick & Adam Hughes at Pew Research Center Dec, 2018

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Most Americans Believe Women Should be Equal at Work, but Attitudes About their Roles at Home are More Complicated

Emma Newburger |  |12.13.2018

Sixty-five percent of Americans say women should have equal roles at work and at home. But the study also revealed a more complicated view of gender equality: Nearly 25 percent of Americans believe that while women should have the same opportunities as men to work or participate in politics, they should still take on a bigger role in the household. A smaller share of people believe that men and women should be unequal in both spheres — 5 percent of millennials and 7 percent of those born from 1946 to 1980.

Citing: Attitudes and the Stalled Gender Revolution: Egalitarianism, Traditionalism, and Ambivalence from 1977 through 2016 by William J. Scarborough, Ray Sin and Barbara Risman at University of Illinois at Chicago, Nov, 2018

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After #MeToo, Those Who Report Harassment Still Risk Retaliation

Lauren Weber |  | 12.12.2018

More than two-thirds of workers who filed sexual harassment complaints with the EEOC say they have suffered retaliation, ranging from job transfers and shift changes to getting fired, according to an analysis of more than 45,000 harassment complaints filed with the EEOC between 2012 and 2016. Of those, nearly all were ultimately fired or left their jobs voluntarily when they felt their work environment became intolerable, the analysis released Wednesday found. More victims are coming forward, but retaliation remains a risk, data show. In the 12 months through Sept. 30, filings with the EEOC alleging sexual harassment rose nearly 14% over the prior year to 7,609 complaints. Allegations of retaliation in connection with sexual harassment have risen by about 5%, said Victoria Lipnic, the EEOC’s acting head.

Citing: Employer’s Response to Sexual Harassment by Carly McCann, Donald Tomaskovic-Devey & M.v. Lee Badgett at University of Massachusetts, Center for Employment Equity, Dec, 2018

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These are the Countries with the Worst Gender Pay Gaps

Andrian Francisco Varela  |  | 12.02.2018

The report—which looked at almost 80% of the world’s earners—analyzed and compiled data on the gap between men and women’s pay across 73 different countries, assessing them based on their income level, and ultimately attempting to ascertain the key culprits behind the wage gap. Interestingly, the phenomenon doesn’t seem to correlate with the differences between men’s and women’s differing education levels.

Citing: Global Wage Report 2018/19: What lies Behind Gender Pay Gaps? At International Labor Organization.

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Making Salary Information Public Helps Close the Gender Pay Gap

Rebecca Greenfield |  | 12.05.2018

When workers know how their pay compares with their colleagues, the difference between what men and women earn gets smaller, according to new economic research. Pay transparency has long been suspected to help close the stubborn gap between men’s and women’s average earnings, but a relatively new Danish law gave researchers from several business schools, including INSEAD, Columbia University and the University of Copenhagen, the chance to prove it. In 2007, Denmark required companies with over 35 employees to disclose pay data by gender. The researchers looked at what happened to salaries between 2003 and 2008 — before and after the law took effect. They also analyzed pay at companies that didn’t have to comply with the law.

Citing: Do Firms Respond to Gender Pay Gap Disclosure? By Morten Bennedsen, Elena Simintzi, Margarita Tsoutsoura Daniel Wolfenzon at University of Copenhagen, Department of Economics, Oct 2018

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NEW RESEARCH REPORTS

Do State Laws Protecting Older Workers from Discrimination Reduce Age Discrimination in Hiring? Evidence from a Field Experiment

David Neumark, Ian Burn, Patrick Button, & Nanneh Chehras | The National Bureau of Economics Research | Dec, 2018

We provide evidence from a field experiment in all 50 states on age discrimination in hiring for retail sales jobs. We relate measured age discrimination – the difference in callback rates between old and young applicants – to state variation in anti-discrimination laws protecting older workers. Anti-discrimination laws could boost hiring, although they could have the unintended consequence of deterring hiring if their main effect is to increase termination costs. We find some evidence that there is less discrimination against older men and women in states where age discrimination law allows larger damages, and some evidence that there is lower discrimination against older women in states where disability discrimination law allows larger damages. But this evidence is not robust to all of the estimations we consider.

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Discrimination at Intersection of Age, Race and Gender: Evidence from a Lab-in-the-field Experiment

Joanna N. Lahey & Douglas R. Oxley | The National Bureau of Economics Research | Dec, 2018

We show race discrimination against prime-age black job applicants that diminishes into middle age before re-emerging for older applicants. Screeners mechanically process black and white resumes similarly, but spend less time on younger black resumes, suggesting they use negative heuristics or taste-based discrimination. Screeners demonstrate levels-based statistical discrimination, believing that younger black applicants have worse computer skills and more gaps in their job histories. We find no evidence that screeners believe black applicants have worse previous experience. Screeners demonstrate variance-based statistical discrimination against black applicants of all ages, suggesting that screeners perceive the stronger history signals for white applicants, with this type of discrimination disproportionately affecting older applicants. We find suggestive evidence that the signal sent by high school attended is weaker for younger black applicants compared to younger white applicants, and we find no evidence that the signal strength of the applicant’s address varies by race.

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Unions and Wage Inequality: The Roles of Gender, Skill and Public Sector Employment

David Card, Thomas Lemieux, & W. Craig Riddell | The National Bureau of Economics Research | Nov, 2018

We examine the changing relationship between unionization and wage inequality in Canada and the United States. Our study is motivated by profound recent changes in the composition of the unionized workforce. Historically, union jobs were concentrated among low-skilled men in private sector industries. With the steady decline in private sector unionization and rising influence in the public sector, half of unionized workers are now in the public sector. Accompanying these changes was a remarkable rise in the share of women among unionized workers. Currently, approximately half of unionized employees in North America are women. While early studies of unions and inequality focused on males, recent studies find that unions reduce wage inequality among men but not among women.

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Women, Wealth Effects, and Slow Recoveries

Masao Fukui, Emi Nakamura, & Jon Steinsson | The National Bureau of Economics Research | Nov, 2018

Business cycle recoveries have slowed in recent decades. This slowdown comes entirely from female employment: as women’s employment rates converged towards men’s over the past half century, the growth rate of female employment slowed. We ask whether this slowdown in female employment caused the slowdown in overall employment during recent business cycle recoveries. Standard macroeconomic models with “balanced growth preferences” imply that this cannot be the cause, since the entry of women “crowds out” men in the labor market almost one for-one. We estimate the extent of crowd out of men by women in the labor market using state level panel data and find that it is small, contradicting the standard model. We show that a model with home production by women can match our low estimates of crowd out. This model – calibrated to match our cross-sectional estimate of crowd out – implies that 70% of the slowdown in recent business cycle recoveries can be explained by female convergence.

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The Job Characteristics of Low- Income Hispanic Parents

Elizabeth Wildsmith, Maria Ramos-Olazagasti, & Marta Alvira-Hammond | The National Research Center on Hispanic Children and Families | Nov, 2018

Parental employment can increase the availability of financial resources that can support children’s development. As such, many publicly funded programs are designed to support children in low-income families encourage and support parental employment.1-3 However, there are additional characteristics of parents’ work that matter for children, characteristics that help determine the availability of non-monetary resources and family dynamics.4-8 In this report, we describe the job characteristics of employed low-income Hispanic parents across four domains associated with child well-being: job security, work schedule, earnings, and employer-provided benefits.4 We look at mothers and fathers separately because of the gendered nature of work. Additionally, we examine differences among Hispanics by nativity, and compare the job characteristics of low-income Hispanic parents to those of low-income non-Hispanic black (“black”) and non-Hispanic white parents (“white”).

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Top 10 Findings of 2018

Top 10 Findings of 2018

IWPR’s annual year in review compiles our top findings from our new research released over the last year. In addition to producing forward-thinking research that once again landed us on the list of Top Think Tanks in the United States, IWPR also saw many exciting developments as our research capacity has grown and expanded this past year.

In January, we announced a new partnership with American University’s Program on Gender Analysis in Economics to collaborate on gender-focused research relevant for public policy. In November, IWPR and AU hosted a sold-out conference, Pathways to Gender Equality, which featured Janet Yellen and AU’s President Sylvia Mathews Burwell, as well as other leading economists and scholars using a gender lens and an intersectional frame in their research. Advocates and policymakers also joined researchers in presenting at the conference.

IWPR also launched two new Centers in 2018—the Center on the Economics of Reproductive Health, funded by the Hewlett Foundation, and a Policies 4 Action Research Hub, funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, established jointly with UC-Berkeley, on the health effects of work-family policies—reflecting new and ongoing commitment by IWPR to critical issues that will shape policy affecting women in the coming years.

Read and share our top findings from 2018 below and stay tuned for exciting new research on women and the future of work, the health effects of paid family and medical leave, the economic impact of access to reproductive health care, and more in 2019.

 

  1. Women earn just half of what men earn across 15 years

An IWPR study of earnings and labor force participation released in November finds that women today earn just 49 cents to the typical man’s dollar when accounting for overall labor force participation across 15 years, which is much less than the 80 cents usually reported. The findings indicate that improving access to paid leave and affordable child care is critical to strengthening women’s labor force attachment and narrowing the long-term gender earnings gap (along with stronger enforcement of equal opportunity and equal pay policies).

Find other resources from IWPR on Pay Equity & Discrimination, including the impact of occupational segregation and the differences in earnings for women of color.

 

  1. 2 in 3 survivors of intimate partner violence say their partner’s behavior negatively affected their educational and job training opportunities.

Results from an IWPR survey of 164 survivors of intimate partner violence (nearly all women) found that abusers coerce pregnancy and keep women from working or attending college. The report includes quotes illuminating how the economic dimensions of abuse permeate survivors’ lives, from their education and career goals to the dreams they have for their family’s safety and security. As one survivor said, “I fantasize about having a well-furnished, cozy home for my children and me…the ability to always provide. I want a cozy, happy life so bad it hurts.”

 

  1. 3 in 4 families headed by single mothers in the United States do not have enough income to meet their basic monthly expenses.

In October, IWPR released the first comprehensive update, since 2014, to the Basic Economic Security Tables (BEST) Index, which details how much income working adults of different family types need to be economically secure in each state and county in the United States. New national and state-by-state data find that one in three U.S. working adults does not have enough income to meet their basic monthly expenses—such as housing, food, transportation, and child care expenses—and save for emergencies and retirement. People of color and families headed by single mothers are more likely to experience economic insecurity.

  • Find data on economic security in your state or for the nation overall at org/BEST.
  • Read about the findings in Marketwatch, “This is exactly how much families must earn in each state to afford housing, child care and food”

 

  1. Campus child care may triple graduation rates among single mothers, who face massive time challenges to college success

IWPR’s time use analysis found that single mothers in college spend the equivalent of a full work day (9 hours) on child care and housework each day and more time in paid employment than women students without children. Only eight percent of single mothers who enroll in two- or four-year programs graduate with a degree within six years. The paper also includes new analysis of student parent data from Monroe Community College (MCC) in Rochester, NY, showing that parents of young children who used MCC’s on-campus child care center had an on-time graduation rate that was more than three times higher than similar parents who did not access the center.

Student Parents by the Numbers Graphic 2017.JPG

  • Read the briefing paper, Time Demands of Single Mother College Students and the Role of Child Care in their Postsecondary Success.
  • Read coverage of the new analysis in Think Progress: “More single moms are enrolled in classes than ever before. Why aren’t colleges accommodating them?,” as well as in The Atlantic, NPR, Diverse Issues in Higher Education, and Inside Higher Ed.
  • Research on campus child care and student parents informs first budget increase ever for federal program that helps provide access to affordable child care for student parents. In March 2018, Child Care Access Means Parents in School (CCAMPIS)program received a big boost in the omnibus spending bill, which more than tripled funding for the program to $50 million, the first increase in the program’s budget ever and highest appropriated funding the program has ever received. The program had originally been identified for budget cuts in the Administration’s FY2018 budget before receiving a proposed modest budget increase in the FY2019 budget request, which cited IWPR’s research on single mothers in college.

 

  1. Single mothers who complete a bachelor’s degree earn $610,300 more over their lifetimes and are 69 percent less likely to live in poverty than single mothers with only high school diplomas.

IWPR’s analysis, which is the first of its kind, finds that public or institutional investments in services, such as child care and case management, boost graduation rates and more than pay for themselves through graduates’ increased tax contributions and reduced public benefits. But access to these benefits must be improved; currently, only 8 percent of single mothers who enroll in two- or four-year programs graduate with a degree within six years.

  • Read the studyInvesting in Single Mothers’ Higher Education: Costs and Benefits to Individuals, Families, and Society.
  • Read the quick figure, “Single Mothers with College Degrees Much Less Likely to Live in Poverty”
  • Read coverage of the analysis in MarketWatch, “Single mothers who graduate college earn $600,000 more over their lifetimes,” in Diverse Issues in Higher Education, “Campus Child Care Critical in Raising Single Mothers’ Graduation Rates,” and in the Higher Ed Innovation Roundup in Inside Higher Ed.

 

  1. Women-owned businesses have less access to capital, fewer intellectual property rights, and much lower revenues.

In July, IWPR release a pair of reports exploring how women-owned businesses are less likely than businesses owned by men to hold intellectual property rights such as patents, copyrights, and trademarks. The analysis, which relies on data from the Annual Survey of Entrepreneurs, also finds that women-owned businesses are less likely to receive venture capital and more likely to rely on credit cards and home equity loans for funding, and receive less than half the revenues of businesses owned by men. In a second report, IWPR profiled promising programs around the United States working to increase gender and racial/ethnic diversity in patenting, innovation, and entrepreneurship.

  • On July 24, the Innovation Alliance hosted the Capitol Hill briefing, “Diversity, Innovation, and Entrepreneurship: The Importance of Intellectual Property to Women and Persons of Color-Owned Businesses,” with presentations from Jessica Milli and Elyse Shaw and remarks from Representative Alma Adams of North Carolina.
  • Read coverage of the reports in MarketWatch, Bloomberg, and Fast Company.
  • On October 31, President Trump signed into law the bipartisan SUCCESS Act. Part of the law directs the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), in consultation with the Small Business Administration, to conduct a study of the impact of the patent gaps in gender, race and veteran status on small businesses and entrepreneurship, and make recommendations to Congress for ways to close the gaps. Further study on patenting among underrepresented groups was a key policy recommendation from IWPR’s research.

 

  1. Burgeoning demand for care workers has not resulted in improved job quality or availability of care

The U.S. market for care workers is adapting slowly to the increasing need for elder care and the unmet need for child care, according to an IWPR report released in June. The number of care workers grew 19 percent from 2005 to 2015, but low wages and poor working conditions in the care workforce threaten the quality and availability of care.

Care workers are predominantly female and the industry has become more diverse over the past decade, with especially large increases in the share of male workers, Hispanic and multiracial workers, and naturalized citizens and foreign-born non-citizens. Care workers have growing levels of education attainment, but the percent of care workers who were poor or near poor remained relatively unchanged between 2005 and 2015, especially among women. Overall, care workers have experienced stagnant, or in many cases declining, wages over the past decade.

  • Read the report, The Shifting Supply and Demand of Care Work: The Growing Role of People of Color and Immigrants.
  • Read the one-pager, “Care workers in the United States: Where are we and where are we going?”
  • Watch the video produced by IWPR and Caring Across Generations, “Universal Family Care for a 21st Century Workforce.”
  1. Unions can boost Hispanic women’s earnings by nearly 50%

IWPR research shows that women benefit from unionization, with unionized women earning $219 more per week, or 30 percent more, than non-unionized women. Women of color are especially likely to benefit from the collective bargaining power of labor unions: Non-union Hispanic women have the lowest earnings of any racial/ethnic group of women, at $565 weekly, but Hispanic women in unions earn $264 more weekly than those who do not have access to collective bargaining.

graph 1

  • Read the fact sheet, “The Union Advantage for Women.”
  • In June, the Supreme Court of the United States handed down a 5-4 ruling in Janus v. AFSCME that will weaken the collective bargaining power of unions by barring public sector unions from collecting fair-share fees from workers who benefit from union representation. Read IWPR President Heidi Hartmann’s statementon the decision.
  • Read coverage of the findings in HuffPost (“The War On Women Is Already Here”) and Refinery29(“The Supreme Court’s Janus Ruling Is A Blow To Black Women”).

 

  1. Paid leave insurance program, such as the FAMILY Act, would provide vital benefits at affordable cost

On the 25th anniversary of the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), IWPR released updated estimates showing that implementing the proposed Family and Medical Insurance Leave Act (FAMILY Act) would cost less than half of one percent of taxable payroll, while extending access to the economic, health, and social benefits of paid leave to millions of Americans.

  • Read the blog post from IWPR’s Heidi Hartmann and Jeff Hayes, “25 Years after FMLA: Research Finds that Paid Leave is a Great Investment”
  • In October, IWPR and UC-Berkeley announced the launch of a new joint research hub to explore the health effects of paid leave policies, minimum wage laws, state and federal tax benefits, and more.

 

  1. Direct and indirect costs of workplace sexual harassment can impact women’s lifetime earnings, employment opportunities, and overall well-being.

In the recent wave of headlines on sexual harassment, IWPR’s experts and research have informed coverage of this issue from many angles: women in low-wage jobs (Al Jazeera and Vox), women on Wall Street (The New Yorker and Vanity Fair) and how the pay gap and sexual harassment are two sides of the same coin (ThinkProgress, TIME, and Refinery29). In October, IWPR released a briefing paper compiling available social science and policy research on what we know about the costs of sexual harassment—to women, employers, and society.

  • Read the briefing paper, Sexual Harassment and Assault at Work: Understanding the Costs.
  • Read the one-pager, “Women in Construction: #MeToo in the Building Trades?”
  • In January, IWPR’s Heidi Hartmann joined Bloomberg’s Benchmark podcast to discuss the sexual harassment reckoning in the field of economics. Read her piece with AU’s Mieke Meurs in Ms. Magazine, “Diversifying the Field of Economics is Critical to Achieving Gender Equality.”

 

Bonus: Paid sick days in Austin would save the city’s businesses $4.5 million per year.

In February, the Austin City Council passed an ordinance to require the city’s employers to provide paid sick days. The ordinance’s historic passage makes Austin, Texas, the first city in the South to guarantee paid sick days to workers. IWPR’s research on access to paid sick days in Austin and the costs and benefits of implementing the proposed ordinance informed city policymakers and coalitions, led by Work Strong Austin. IWPR study director Jessica Milli testified before the council on IWPR’s analysis.

Covering Small Businesses in Paid Leave

By Jeff Hayes, Ph.D.

Whether to cover all employers or to exclude small employers from coverage is a frequent topic that emerges during discussions about policies to expand access to worker leave for family and medical needs. For example, the Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993 (FMLA) excludes those working for employers of less than 50 within a 75 mile radius. This restriction is one of the primary reasons that the FMLA excludes about two in five workers in the United States from job protected unpaid leave up to 12 weeks in length. (Another reason is its requirement that workers have one full year of tenure with the same employer working more than half-time (at least 1,250 hours that year).

Access to paid leave varies widely by employer size (Table 1):

  • Overall, 71 percent of private sector employees have access to paid sick leave, ranging from 62 percent of those working in establishments with fewer than 50 employees to 87 percent for those working in establishments with 500 or more employees.
  • Sixteen percent of private sector workers have access to paid family leave, ranging from 12 percent of those working in establishments with fewer than 50 employees to 25 percent for those working in establishments with 500 or more employees.
  • Temporary disability insurance (TDI) that can usually be used for maternity leave is available to 42 percent of private workers, varying from 28 percent of those working in establishments with fewer than 50 employees to 63 percent for those working in establishments with 500 or more employees.

Table 1: Distribution of Employment and Paid Leave Benefit Access Rates by Establishment Size, Private Employers.

table 2 paid leave

Source: *Quarterly Census of Employment and Wages, First Quarter 2018. **National Compensation Survey, March 2018.

These data tell us that if a state excludes small businesses with 1-49 workers from a requirement to participate in a paid leave program, then the state will also exclude 42 percent of its workforce from paid leave benefits (depending on the particular size distribution of firms in the state).

While it is important to provide opportunities for small businesses to thrive and grow, their employees also need the protections and benefits of paid leave for their own serious health conditions, parental leave for new children, and caring for family members. Several states have passed family and medical leave laws expanding job protection to those employed in establishments with fewer than 50 employees.

Since 2006, when San Francisco adopted the first paid sick days law, more than 45 states, counties, and cities have adopted policies that take the form of employer mandates requiring employers to provide a minimum number of days of leave for most workers. The workers earn leave according to a formula and benefits are expected to reflect their usual wages when leave is used. Many of these laws make distinctions based on the number of employees in the establishment in terms of the number of days that can be earned and accumulated in a year. For example, the San Francisco paid sick days ordinance allows workers to earn one hour of paid leave for every 30 hours of paid work, accumulating a maximum of nine days in firms with 10 or more employees and five days in smaller firms, for their own health needs, as well as those of other family members (including a “designated person” or chosen family).

In contrast, none of the five states that have programs for paid family and medical leave explicitly exclude employers from coverage based on their number of employees. Most of these programs have been set up as social insurance programs, and they aim for more universal benefits (these state programs were established between 1942 and 1969, with family leave implemented as add-ons between 2004 and 2013).

In the majority of states, workers pay all or the majority of the insurance premiums; therefore, it makes sense that the leave benefits are portable and can move with the workers as they switch jobs within their states, without worry about which employers are covered and which are not. There are other small differences among the five state programs:

  • Some states, like California and New Jersey historically allowed employers to use private coverage for the TDI (medical leave) portion of their programs, but the state insurance plan is predominant.[i]
  • Other states, like New York, encourage use of private insurance companies but have a state fund as back up.[ii]
  • Only Hawaii requires all employers to use private insurance to provide TDI, so it is universal like social insurance, but in the form of a mandate on employers.
  • Rhode Island is pure social insurance (no employer can opt out by using a private insurance company or self-insuring) and the workers pay the entire premium.

Of these five states, all but Hawaii have added paid family leave, for all size employers, for lengths of benefit receipt from 4 to 12 weeks.  All programs have a one week waiting period before benefits are applied to a covered absence from work.[iii]

Some of the more recent laws to pass include special provisions to help smaller employers meet their obligations under the new policy, but their workers are not denied benefit coverage. While most Americans understand that small businesses are very important to the American economy, many may not have considered the definition of “small” and the consequences for workers under policies that differentiate according to the number of people employed by an establishment.

Nationally, nearly two-thirds (63 percent) of establishments employ fewer than 5 workers (Table 2). But just 7.3 percent of the private workforce is employed in these very small establishments, with most U.S. workers employed by larger firms. Under FMLA (which has more complex criteria for determining worker eligibility), 96 percent of the establishments in the United States are smaller than 50 employees, but they employ just 44 percent of workers.

Table 2: Detailed Distribution of Private-Sector Employment and Establishments by Number of Employees per Establishment

table 1 paid leave

Source: Quarterly Census of Employment and Wages, First Quarter 2018.

If firms with 49 or fewer employees are excluded from paid leave programs, then 44 percent of workers are excluded.  The excluded share falls to 26 percent if firms with less than 20 employees are excluded. Even if only the smallest firms—with fewer than 5 employees—are excluded from a mandate to provide paid leave, still 7.3 percent of all employees are excluded.

There is evidence that small businesses are supportive of these policies. Recent survey data of a nationally representative sample of small businesses from the Main Street Alliance found that nearly two of three small business owners would support a national paid family and medical leave program (64 percent) and eight of ten (79 percent) small business owners reported a paid family and medical leave policy through a social insurance program would help them provide this benefit to their employees.[iv]

Making it easier for small businesses to provide these vital benefits to their workers by including them in paid leave insurance programs is a win-win-win for workers, employers, and the economy.


[i] Self-insurance is allowed, but regulated. For example, less than 4 percent of California workers are covered by Voluntary Plans that can include private or self-insurance.

[ii] New York law allows, but does not require, employers to deduct one-half of one percent of an employee’s wage, up to a maximum of $.60 per week, towards the cost of disability benefits insurance.

[iii] Waiting periods may be waived when continuing on family leave following a medical leave for childbirth.

[iv] Among respondents to this survey, 90 percent had 10 or fewer employees.

A message from Heidi Hartmann, Ph.D., CEO and President of IWPR

By Heidi Hartmann, Ph.D.

In the past few months at IWPR, we have expanded long-standing research areas and developed several new ones.

We have amplified our work on student parents, especially single mothers and women of color. The administration and Congress passed a budget that allocated greater than expected funding for the Child Care Access Means Parents in School (CCAMPIS) grant program, a first step in helping more low-income student parents access affordable care. With new funding from the ECMC and Kresge Foundations our Student Parent Success Initiative will expand this area of research at IWPR, where our findings brought greater recognition to the special barriers confronting single mothers combining work, higher education, and parenting.

IWPR has also added two new research hubs. The Center on the Economics of Reproductive Health is directed by Kelly Jones, a Senior Research Economist. With support from the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, the new Center will identify the causal, economic impacts of reproductive health policies and raise awareness of reproductive health as an economic issue on scholarly and policy debates on such topics as postsecondary education, workforce development, economic growth, community economic development, family poverty, workplace benefits, and public support programs. As part of IWPR’s partnership with American University’s Program on Gender Analysis in Economics, Dr. Jones has also joined AU as an Assistant Professor of Economics.

Our second new hub, The Work-Family Supports and Health Research Hub, is funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. IWPR researchers partnered with Professor Will Dow and his colleagues at the University of California at Berkeley. Professor Dow, is a health economist interested in examining evidence for the health effects of family support policies such as paid family and medical leave, the Earned Income Tax Credit, child care, and minimum wages. IWPR will now add to our studies of health effects as well, focusing on the health impacts of paid family and medical leave. The new Hub is part of the RWJF’s Policy for Action research program.

You will also find articles on two other new areas of work at IWPR, the paucity of women patent holders and how it may play an important role in making it more difficult for women entrepreneurs to access capital, and the way automation is likely to affect women differently from men since the majority of both women and men still work in different occupations. Another article discusses new developments in our work on the status of women in the states, reports we have been producing since 1996: satisfying the need for more local, county, and regional emphases as well as urban-rural differences.

A historic surge of women is stepping up and running for office this year, and, in a variety of offices across the country, the numbers of women will increase. IWPR is preparing an agenda of actionable economic policy solutions for civic leaders and policymakers, a menu that they can prepare even before they take office. Analyzing the impact of policies from an intersectional perspective is more important to the advancement of human progress than ever before. Please join us!

>>Support IWPR’s work today<<

Research News Roundup — November 2018

RESEARCH MAKING THE NEWS 

Reproductive Coercion ‘Much More Prevalent’ Than Once Thought

By: Auditi Guha |  | 10.24.2018

Eighty-four percent of these survivors of reproductive coercion became pregnant. This is one of the findings from a survey of 164 survivors in domestic violence programs and shelters conducted by the Institute for Women’s Policy Research (IWPR). The survey, which was administered to survivors in 11 states and D.C., explores how abuse affects their abilities to secure and keep jobs, choose when to start families, and maintain good credit. The report, released Wednesday, shows how abuse keeps survivors from achieving economic security. “I fantasize about having a well-furnished, cozy home for my children and me …the ability to always provide. I want a cozy, happy life so bad it hurts,” said one of the women in the report.

Citing: Dreams Deferred: A Survey on the Impact of Intimate Partner Violence on Survivors’ Education, Careers, and Economic Security by Cynthia Hess, Ph.D., and Alona Del Rosario, M.A., Institute for Women’s Policy Research, Oct 2018

What #MeToo Has to Do With the Workplace Gender Gap

By: Vanessa Fuhrmans |  | 10.23.2018

The #MeToo movement has thrown a glaring spotlight on the gender gap in the workplace. For the past year, a collective national reckoning about the sexual pressure many women encounter on the job has pervaded offices, factory floors and break rooms. Women have come forward with painful secrets, and powerful men have been toppled. What has been less apparent, though, is how harassment and the gender gap are inextricably linked. In fact, management experts and executives say, harassment can be a direct side effect of a workplace that slights women on everything from pay to promotions, especially when the perception is that men run the show and women can’t speak up.

Citing: Women in the Workplace 2018 by Mckinsey&Company at Lean In, 2018

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Blue-collar Men are Riding America’s Economic Wave. Women? Not so much.

By: Danielle Paquette |  | 10.23.2018

Well-paying jobs that don’t require a college degree are multiplying at the fastest rate in three decades, offering more Americans a path to the middle class. But economists warn one group is missing out: women. A new report from Georgetown University found there are now about 13 million jobs nationwide that require only a high school diploma and pay at least $35,000 annually, a higher wage than most entry-level service roles. Three-quarters of them, however, belong to men.

“If you don’t have that degree, you better be a guy,” said Nicole Smith, chief economist at the Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce.

Citing: Three Educational Pathways to Good Jobs by Anthony Carnevale, Jeff Stohl, Neil Ridley, and Artem Gulishat Georgetown University, 2018

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1495 Americans Describe the Financial Reality of Being Really Sick

By:  Margot Sanger Katz  | 10.17.2018

The New York Times, the Commonwealth Fund and the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health used the survey to examine the sliver of the American population who use the health care system the most. To be included in the results, a respondent had to have been hospitalized twice in the last two years, and to have seen at least three doctors. In some cases, when patients had died or were too ill to answer questions, relatives who had taken care of them participated in their place. Their experiences may serve as an early warning system for problems that all of us may face: Because the estimated 40 million people in this population visit doctors, hospitals, nursing homes and pharmacies the most, they are the likeliest to see the weak points in the health care system.

Citing: Health Care in America: The Experience of People with Serious Illness by Eric C. Schneider, Melinda Abrams, Arnav Shah, Corinne Lewis, and Tanya Shah at Common Wealth Fund and Harvard School of Public Health, October, 2018.

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How Raising the Minimum Wage Keeps Excons from Going Back to the Prison

By: Jacob Passy |   | 10.03.2018

Married men far outpaced single men and single and married women in their wages and salary through their careers, according to the report. Unmarried men and women have very little difference in income, according to the analysis of all people employed in 2016 with at least a high school diploma. But for women, getting married does little to improve wages, the St. Louis Fed study found. The data doesn’t necessarily mean that being married increases a man’s wages, according to the analysis by Guillaume Vandenbroucke, a research officer at the Fed. It may mean men earning higher wages are more likely to marry and lower-income men remain single, the Fed found.

Citing: The Minimum Wage, EITC and Criminal Recidivism by Amanda y. Agan and Michael D. Makowsky at the National Bureau of Economic Research, September 2018

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NEW RESEARCH REPORTS

Strategies for Meeting the Demand for Advanced Manufacturing and Ship Building Workers: Women Only Pre-Apprenticeship Programs in Mississippi and West Virginia

By: Ariane Hegewisch, Institute for Women’s Policy Research for the  National Center for Women’s Equity in Apprenticeship and Employment at Chicago Women in the Trades l Oct, 2018

Apprenticeships in advanced manufacturing and the trades offer pathways to good jobs with family-sustaining wages and benefits and are a proven and cost-effective model for employers seeking to ensure that they can meet their future need for skilled workers. […]This brief describes how two women-only pre-apprenticeship programs, West Virginia Women Work’s Step Up for Women and Moore Community House’ Women in Construction program in Mississippi, are preparing women for career pathways that meet the needs of families as well as the demands of the manufacturing and shipbuilding industry. This report is based on site visits and interviews with program leaders, participants, employers, and other program partners.

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Women Only Pre-Apprenticeship Programs: Meeting Skills Needs and Creating Pathways to Good Jobs for Women

By: Ariane Hegewisch and Julie Andersen, Institute for Women’s Policy Research l  National Center for Women’s Equity in Apprenticeship and Employment at Chicago Women in the Trades l Oct, 2018

This briefing paper profiles three women-only pre-apprenticeship programs7 – Chicago Women in the Trades (CWIT), New York’s Nontraditional Employment for Women (NEW), and Oregon Tradeswomen Inc. (OT) that are achieving impressive results in improving gender and racial diversity in apprenticeship programs.8 Where these programs operate, women’s share of registered apprenticeships is at least twice as high as the national average, and in the double digits in several key apprenticeship programs, showing that women-only pre-apprenticeship programs are an important component in creating greater diversity in the trades.

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The Effects of Universal Preschool in Washington D.C

By: Rasheer Malik l Center for American Progress l Sept, 2018

This report focuses on maternal labor force participation—in this case, mothers with a child younger than 5 years old—because most frequently, the parent who is on the margin of participating in the labor force is female. For the purposes of this report, the term “young children” refers to those under 5 years old, and the term “maternal labor force participation rate” refers to the share of women whose children are under age 5 and who are either working or actively seeking employment.

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Rethinking Gender Pay Inequality in a More Transparent World

By: Mita Goldar, Chrisopher Ryan, and Ahu Yildrimaz l ADP Research Institute l Sept, 2018

As employment practices in the United States have evolved, so has federal and state legislation. Starting with the Equal Pay Act of 1963 and Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the U.S. Congress has passed at least nine major bills addressing discrimination to help ensure the legal protections for pay equity are enforced across various protected categories, such as race, religion, ethnicity, disability, age, and national origin. More recently, Congress passed the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act of 2009, which amends the 180-day statute for filing an equal-pay lawsuit to reset with each new paycheck impacted by the original act of discrimination. States have added their own guidelines. The California Fair Pay Act, for example, looks past job classification to examine the situation of employees who perform “substantially similar work,” and forbids retaliation against workers who share their personal compensation information with co-workers. Multiple states explicitly focus on total compensation rather than only base pay. Some states and local jurisdictions, such as Massachusetts and New York City, are advancing ordinances that forbid an employer to request the salary history of a prospective employee for purposes of negotiating salaries

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Relationship of Gender Differences in Preferences to Economic Development and Gender Equality

By: Armin Falk and Johannes Herme l Science l Oct, 2018

Preferences concerning time, risk, and social interactions systematically shape human behavior and contribute to differential economic and social outcomes between women and men. We present a global investigation of gender differences in six fundamental preferences. Our data consist of measures of willingness to take risks, patience, altruism, positive and negative reciprocity, and trust for 80,000 individuals in 76 representative country samples. Gender differences in preferences were positively related to economic development and gender equality. This finding suggests that greater availability of and gender-equal access to material and social resources favor the manifestation of gender-differentiated preferences across countries

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Improving Access for Women in Business and Innovation

Improving Access for Women in Business and Innovation

By Jessica Milli, Ph.D.

Previous IWPR research has indicated that fewer than 20 percent of all U.S. patents have at least one woman listed as an inventor. In July, IWPR released two new reports which built on this earlier work, examining the gap in innovative activities more broadly among businesses owned by women and men and the implications for business outcomes, and profiling programs aimed at promoting women’s greater participation in patenting and entrepreneurship.

Entrepreneurship has become increasingly common among women. The number of businesses owned by women grew at nearly four times the rate of men between 1997 and 2015, and this growth was driven almost entirely by women of color. Yet despite these gains, women-owned businesses still lag behind men. Previous research has shown that intellectual property rights are associated with greater success in raising start-up capital as well as increased market value, yet women-owned businesses are less likely to hold intellectual property and engage in research and development activities. Women owned businesses, for example, are only half as likely to hold a patent as men.

femchat post graphic

Recognizing the gender gap in innovation and its economic and social consequences, a number of programs across the country have been developed to address women’s underrepresentation. Among them, IWPR identified Improving Access for Women in Business and Innovation seven promising programs and conducted in-depth interviews with program leaders and participants to learn more about how they operated in different settings, served different audiences, and tackled the barriers women face from a variety of angles. The interviews highlighted the importance of education about patenting and commercialization, network building and mentorship, and working with stakeholders in local communities.

Both reports highlight the importance of promoting greater diversity in the innovative ecosystem. Diverse groups of people experience the world differently and encounter different challenges, and when those groups don’t have a seat at the table, problems can easily be overlooked, and the solutions developed may not work for everyone.