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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Technology and Automation are Changing the Labor Market for Women

Technology and Automation are Changing the Labor Market for Women

By Nicolas Martinez

In the coming years, developments in artificial intelligence, computerization, and automation are likely to impact most jobs. This summer, IWPR held a panel discussion with Professor Jerry Jacobs, Sarita Gupta, and Morgan Higgins to discuss how AI and computerization may change jobs in elder care and how public policy can improve the quality of care jobs. This discussion was part of the Institute for Women’s Policy Research’s Women & the Future of Work lecture series, supported by the JPMorgan Chase Foundation.

IMG_0476
Sarita Gupta, Jobs with Justice, speaking at Future of Work lecture series.

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 a report released by IWPR in June titled, The Shifting Supply and Demand of Care Work: The Growing Role of People of Color and Immigrants. 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 noncitizens. 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. IWPR contextualized the research into the broader policy landscape in a one-pager, “Care workers in the United States: Where are we and where are we going?” The analysis was featured in Home Health Care News, “Care Workforce is More Educated, But Wages Remain Stagnant.”

Automation may cause jobs to disappear, but new technologies could give rise to an entirely different outcome. Computerization of some aspects of the job could lead to greater transparency and safety for care workers. As the labor market continues to evolve, IWPR will continue to provide high quality data analysis and provide policy recommendations.

[Event Recap] Pathways to Gender Equality: Economic Gender Analysis Addressing Current and Future Challenges at American University, November 2-3 2018

[Event Recap] Pathways to Gender Equality: Economic Gender Analysis Addressing Current and Future Challenges at American University, November 2-3 2018

On November 2-3, 2018, IWPR and AU’s Program on Gender Analysis in Economics hosted a conference in Washington, DC, bringing together scholars, advocates, and media to discuss economic issues through the lens of race and gender. Attendees heard from many experts on the latest research that sheds light on the path to gender equality.

  • Read about the issues explored at the conference in a commentary for Ms. Magazine written by IWPR’s Kelly Jones and Elyse Shaw, “The Economic Pathways to Gender Equality.”

Watch the Opening Plenary: Diversifying the Discipline of Economics

 

The opening plenary featured a conversation among leading women in economics on how the field can diversify to bring in more perspectives from women and people of color. The panel was moderated by MacArthur Foundation’s Cecilia Conrad and included former chair of the Federal Reserve and current Distinguished Fellow in Residence at the Brookings Institution Janet Yellen, MacArthur Fellow Nancy Folbre, M.V. Lee Badgett of the University of Massachusetts, Maria S. Floro of American University, and Bina Agarwal of the University of Manchester.

  • Read coverage of Dr. Yellen’s remarks at the conference in The Wall Street Journal.
  • Read commentary for Ms. Magazine from IWPR’s Heidi Hartmann and American University’s Mieke Meurs, “Diversifying the Field of Economics is Critical to Achieving Gender Equality.”

Watch the Closing Plenary: Moving Forward—Immediate and Mid-Term Priorities

 

The closing plenary was moderated by IWPR’s Heidi Hartmann and included economists Kate Bahn of the Washington Center for Economic Growth, Caren Grown of the World Bank, Shahra Razavi of UN Women, and John Schmitt of the Economic Policy Institute discussing the short- and long-term policy priorities that can move the needle on gender equality in the United States and around the world.

Continue the conversation on social media with #Pathways2GenderEquality.

IWPR Research News Roundup – October 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 l  l 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

Tweet This l Read Full Article l Download PDF

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

By: Danielle Paquette l  l 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

Tweet This l Read Full Article l Download PDF

1495 Americans Describe the Financial Reality of Being Really Sick

By:  Margot Sanger Katz l l 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.

Tweet This l Read Full Article l Download PDF

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

By: Jacob Passy l  l 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

Tweet This l Read Full Article l Download PDF

 

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.

Tweet This l Download PDF

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.

Tweet This l Download PDF

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.

Tweet This l Download PDF

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

Tweet This l Download This

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

Tweet This l Download This

A Critical Juncture for Health: Heidi Hartmann and Will Dow Discuss New P4A Research Hub on Work-Family-Supports

Read the original post at policiesforaction.org

Heidi Hartmann and Will Dow are the codirectors of P4A’s new Research Hub at the Institute for Women’s Policy Research (IWPR) and the University of California, Berkeley. The hub will focus on income enhancement and workplace policies that help working parents, especially those struggling to make ends meet, to have the time and financial resources to protect and invest in their family’s health. We sat down with them to learn more about their research portfolio and why it matters for policymakers, advocates, and community leaders.

Will and Heidi, can you tell us about how you are collaborating to study the connections between income and workplace policies and the health and well-being of families with children?

HEIDI: This is an area we’ve been working in for 30 years, and we’re very excited to look more closely at the health effects. Both IWPR and the Institute for Research on Labor and Employment (IRLE) at UC Berkeley attack a broad range of policies in our research, and we’re interested in every aspect of social policy. Because of the aging population, because of the diversity of our population, we want to learn what works and with whom. We all want to improve health care and reduce costs. That would allow our nation to spend money on other things we also want: housing, education, income assistance, green parks, art, culture.

As a country, we’re facing a critical juncture in these types of policies. And the health piece is very exciting – it’s a huge motivator and mobilizer for families and workers. It’s the dominant issue in this election cycle. Voters care about it. Therefore, policymakers care about it.

WILL: At Berkeley, we have a multidisciplinary set of faculty at the frontiers of economics, sociology, public policy, and public health and they are at the frontier of exploring the nexus between health and employment. As someone in public health, we care about where people live, play and work. We spend so much of our day at work – it’s crucial to focus on the employment piece of the puzzle.

Having IWPR as the partner in this really extends what we could possibly think about doing. They have such a good track record of working with the policy community and working on external communications—turning the basic research into action-oriented research briefs and events. It extends what we can do, and brings it to the policy sphere so much more quickly and robustly.

Your hub will also work closely with Ascend at The Aspen Institute. Can you tell us more about this partnership and why it’s important?

HEIDIAscend at the Aspen Institute represents a very important partner for practice and policy activities. They’re also very experienced in the business of translating research into accessible language for use by policymakers and the advocacy community. Ascend will help us frame all the policy issues we’re working on, and help narrow down the rapid response projects we’ll be doing.

What kinds of policies will you be examining? What are some big questions you’re hoping to help answer?

HEIDI: The issue of care—not having enough caregivers, not doing enough to make sure our entire population is being cared for (especially those who cannot care for themselves)—becomes increasingly urgent every day. We’re also the only country in the world without paid family leave, and we’re the only advanced country in the world without a system of paid sick leave. You can get the flu, you can have cancer, you can trip on the sidewalk—whatever happens to you, you could lose your income. We’re handicapped because we don’t have policies like paid family leave and help with families’ childcare costs.

This type of project is urgently needed now, partly because we have cut back on social supports for workers, families and individuals, and also because we’re just not keeping up with other countries around the world. This project allows us to get into depth on these issues, and produce actionable, reliable information that we hope all policymakers are looking for and will listen to.

One of our contributions to the whole work-family policy area is the development of a very sophisticated simulation model that can estimate the costs of designing a paid family leave program.  If your state, or city, or county (or nation) doesn’t have a paid family leave program, or has one that can be improved upon, by using the equations in the model, we can tell you a lot about any proposal you have – how much it would cost to provide the benefits, who would get these benefits, and how those benefits would be distributed.

WILL: In developing our projects, we were looking for salient gaps in what other people have been doing. Take the minimum wage. There’s been such a large literature on minimum wage, but not the effects on health — there’s starting to be work on this, but it is really still in its infancy. The effects of minimum wage on employment have been so controversial, and I think for the credibility of moving this into the policy sphere, we have to have work which is using the most reliable methods so we can get broad-based academic buy-in. That allows us to have a much more robust and I think, ultimately, longer-term policy impact on this field.

People say we don’t need to wait for the research literature to establish with great certainty what these results are. But if we don’t establish it in a strong way, it risks undermining the credibility of the policy efforts and slows down those efforts.

Is income always the mediating factor to better health and well-being? Or is it more complicated than that?

WILL: For low-income families, an increase in income of a few thousand dollars can actually be very significant in terms of the well-being of their kids. But having higher wages can also enable more flexibility on the part of the family – not to have to work two jobs, or to choose jobs that have a more family friendly component to them (rather than only seeking the highest-wage job). So, half of our hub projects are related to enhancing family incomes, and the other half are related to workplace regulation, including regulations around family friendly work schedules and paid family leave.

Many working caregivers simply can’t afford to take leave because they can’t pay their bills if their income goes down. What paid leave can do is replace the income they would have received while they were working and allow them to spend time with their kids at critical times in the life course. And that’s where we have a great deal of evidence – that spending time with kids in these early points in their childhoods can have permanent, lifetime benefits. What we’re trying to understand now is what are the types of leave policies that are actually influential in allowing more people to take that leave time and spend that time with their kids.

Most of these policies vary greatly from one state to another. Why study state-level policies, especially now?

WILL: Many stakeholders would like to see more robust federal policies in this arena. In the current policy environment, it doesn’t look like that’s likely in the short run. But what we can do right now is take advantage of the fact that we have such active experimentation at the sub-federal level. Much of this is going on at the state level, and at the level of localities, and the level of employers as well. We want to learn from all this and cross-fertilize ideas – not only from one state to another, but across states, municipalities, and employers –  helping each understand what might actually be a win-win for them to start doing proactively without waiting for federal legislation.

HEIDI: Using our simulation model we have estimated the costs and benefits of different policy options for paid leave programs at all governmental levels. We’ve also extended these findings to national programs that test many different policy parameters—how much does it cost to expand eligibility, for example.  Being a member of the P4A team and working with Will and others at Berkeley allows us to add the health impacts of these policy changes to our already comprehensive simulation model.

Your research hub will also produce some “rapid response” projects. Can you tell us more about these?

WILL: Our rapid response projects are designed to take strong research that’s already completed, and that with some additional modeling and analysis can fairly quickly lead to tailored new evidence and new knowledge that would be particularly beneficial for very specific policy conversations going on now or that we know are upcoming.

HEIDI: We built a large network of partners into our project to make sure that our work is accessible and focused on the issues that people care about. We also want to open it up to everyone working in the area—policymakers, voters, other researchers, public interest groups—to give us suggestions for issues and topics they’re interested in, and how and when they’d like to see those topics develop.

Thank you, Will and Heidi! We’re so excited to have you on board!

Have an idea for a rapid response project? Send us an email at policies4action@urban.org.