…. It’s a growing trend in legislatures controlled by Republicans. At least 25 states have passed preemption laws that block cities from raising the minimum wage, and 20 have banned cities from instituting paid sick leave. The majority of these laws have been enacted since 2013 and advocates for higher workplace standards say the trend is only accelerating. ….
…. It is time for the U.S. to join the rest of the developed world in providing paid parental leave. Politicians on both sides of the aisle are finally starting to recognize that the current system places American parents in an impossible position. None of them would provide what I think is adequate: six months of paid leave per parent. (Six months is the recommendation of the president of the American Academy of Pediatrics as well.) ….
Source: Alan D. Berkowitz, J. Ian Downes, and Jane E. Patullo, Employee Relations Law Journal, Vol. 43, No. 4, Spring 2018
This article provides a brief overview of some of the major trends in employment law regulation at the state and local level.
State and local laws have long been an integral part of the web of laws that regulate the workplace. Among other things, such laws have for many years expanded the scope and reach of anti-discrimination laws, and imposed complex requirements concerning the payment of wages and other compensation issues. In recent years, however, state and local legislators seem to have widened their gaze to expand regulation into numerous new areas, including family and sick leave laws, prohibitions on consideration of criminal histories and prior salary information, and protection of the rights of pregnant and breastfeeding employees. Additionally, the dramatic proliferation of medical marijuana laws in many states has brought with it numerous challenges and issues in the employment area. This article provides a brief overview of some of the major trends in employment law regulation at the state and local level.
From the summary:
In recent years, the policy landscape at the federal level and in some states has in many ways become extraordinarily inhospitable to families—especially immigrant families—who are struggling to make ends meet and provide for their children. Far too many families find themselves set up to fail, with millions of parents across the country working in jobs in which low wages, unfair scheduling practices, and minimal benefits make it difficult to meet both work and caregiving responsibilities. And the parents most likely to work in low-wage jobs are women—disproportionately women of color and immigrant women—who are often raising very young children on their own.
Against this backdrop, however, it is all the more important to recognize that a substantial number of states, localities, and private actors—from working people to community-based organizations to large companies—have taken important steps in the past two years to improve the lives of low-wage working parents and their children.
Stepping Up: New Policies and Strategies Supporting Parents in Low-Wage Jobs and Their Children provides examples of the ways in which different stakeholders have implemented new policies, practices, and strategies to advance the key goals outlined in the National Women’s Law Center’s June 2016 report, Set Up for Success:
– Increase parents’ incomes.
– Ensure parents are treated fairly in the workplace and have stable, predictable work schedules.
– Expand children’s access to high-quality, affordable child care and early education.
– Increase parents’ access to paid sick days and paid family and medical leave.
– Improve parents’ opportunities to obtain education and training that can help them advance into better jobs.
From the press release:
….The takeaway? Almost all employees (94%) want their employers to ensure the benefits offered have a meaningful impact on their quality of life, like paying off student loan debt and offering more flexible work arrangements. But before employers attempt a benefits overhaul, they should perhaps focus on better education and communication about their existing benefits. Just under half (48%) of employees report knowing all the perks their employers offer, and only 40 percent say their employers help them understand the benefits that are available…..
Benefits can be an even stronger incentive than salary when considering a job offer, and an unattractive benefits package may drive candidates away.
– Sixty-six percent of workers agree that a strong benefits and perks package is the largest determining factor when considering job offers, and 61 percent would be willing to accept a lower salary if a company offered a great benefits package.
– Forty-two percent of employees say they are considering leaving their current jobs because their benefits packages are inadequate.
– Fifty-five percent have left jobs in the past because they found better benefits or perks elsewhere.
Both benefits and perks matter
When evaluating benefits, quality health insurance reigns supreme. But when it comes to perks, the survey findings indicate that workers want to maximize their time spent at work and appreciate conveniences that help them get the most out of their days.
– When considering a potential employers’ benefits (defined in the study as “standard forms of compensation paid by employers to employees over and above salary”), workers prioritize health insurance (75%), followed by retirement funds and/or pensions (21%).
– Highly rated perks (defined in the study as “workplace-related extras”), that workers want to see more of in the workplace are:
– early Friday releases (33%)
– flexibility and remote working (26%)
– onsite lifestyle amenities, like gyms and dry cleaning (23%)
– unlimited vacation time (22%)
– in-office meal options, like communal snacks or food courts (18%)
– onsite childcare (15%)
When it comes to benefits and perks, one size does not fit all
Age, income level and gender all play a role in the benefits that employees prioritize:
– Forty-one percent of respondents aged 18 to 24 said their current employers do not offer student loan repayment benefits, but wish they did.
– Workers aged 50+ named health insurance as the top benefit they wish their employers offered.
– Nearly a third (28%) of respondents who earn more than $150,000 annually say bonuses are one of the most important perks when considering new employment.
– More women than men want better parental leave policies (women: 22% vs. men: 14%) and onsite childcare (women: 15% vs. men: 6%).
– More men than women would like to see their employers offer life insurance (women: 15% vs. men: 23%).
From the overview:
Most working mothers return home to a second shift of unpaid housework and caregiving after their official workday ends. When paid work, household labor, and child care are combined, working mothers spend more time working than fathers.
Practical advice on some of the most uncomfortable—and important—things you could do for your career.
Source: NOLO, 2018
Can you be required to take a drug test? Who is entitled to earn overtime? What kinds of conduct fall under the definition of illegal discrimination and harassment — and what should you do if you are a victim? Can you take time off work to care for a new child, serve in the military, cast your ballot, or recover from a serious illness? Get detailed answers to all of your questions about workplace rights here.
Your Workplace Rights
Source: Workplace Fairness, 2018
Hiring & Classifications
Looking for a new job? Wondering if the questions you were asked at the interview were legal? This section addresses some of the most common issues you may encounter in the hiring process, and how you are classified as a worker may affect your workplace rights.
Are you being treated differently at work? If so, is it because of your race, sex, age, disability, national origin or religion? Wondering what other kinds of discrimination are illegal? Get the facts on workplace discrimination here.
Harassment & Other Workplace Problems
Whether you’re being pressured to have sex with your boss, forced to listen to foul language or slurs, or wondering whether the comment you made might get you in trouble, you’ll find this information on harassment and other problems you might encounter on the job to be helpful.
Unpaid Wages/Wage & Hour Problems
Not getting paid what your employer owes you? Are you forced to work overtime, but not receiving any extra pay? Get the facts on “wage and hour” laws here.
Benefits & Leaves
For most employees, your job isn’t just about the pay, but also what benefits are included. Sick leave, disability leave, family/medical leave–the different kinds of leave you may be allowed to take can be confusing. Get information about health care coverage, pensions, leave eligibility and other benefit-related information here.
Privacy & Workplace Surveillance
Is somebody watching you? It just might be your employer. Find out here what rights to privacy in the workplace you do and do not have.
Health & Safety/Workplace Injuries
Is your workplace unsafe? Are you worried about getting hurt at work? Wondering what to do about it? Have questions about the workers’ compensation system? Find the answers here.
Whistleblowing & Retaliation
Fighting back when you see your employer doing something wrong can be scary, and risky. But there are laws that can protect you in a number of situations. Learn more about how you might be protected when you blow the whistle or challenge illegal conduct.
Unions & Collective Action
Facing an organizing campaign at work (or want to get involved in one)? Already a union member but don’t understand how things work? Fired for organizing or joining a union? This section covers information about your rights to organize and be in a union, and how unions work.
Termination & Unemployment
Whether you were suddenly fired, laid off, or asked to resign, you’ll want to know what happens now that you are out of a job.
Work-life balance is not an issue exclusive to women, particularly mothers, new research shows. Men and people without children can suffer when they feel that their workplace culture is not family-friendly, as well.
When employees think their careers will suffer if they take time away from work for family or personal reasons, they have lower work satisfaction and experience more work-life spillover. In addition, they are more likely to intend to leave their jobs, say researchers…..
….People typically think only women and moms experience work-family issues, and need flexible work arrangements, like telecommuting, part-time work, or job sharing. Society believes it’s women who bear the brunt of unfriendly work cultures, when it actually impacts all genders, says Lindsey Trimble O’Connor, lead author and assistant professor of sociology at California State University Channel Islands…..
Not Just a Mothers’ Problem: The Consequences of Perceived Workplace Flexibility Bias for All Workers
Lindsey Trimble O’Connor, Erin A. Cech, Sociological Perspectives, Online First, April 13, 2018
From the abstract:
Flexibility bias and the “ideal worker” norm pose serious disadvantages for working mothers. But, are mothers the only ones harmed by these norms? We argue that these norms can be harmful for all workers, even “ideal” ones—men without caregiving responsibilities who have never used flexible work arrangements. We investigate how working in an environment where workers perceive flexibility bias affects their job attitudes and work-life spillover. Using representative survey data of U.S. workers, we find that perceived flexibility bias reduces job satisfaction and engagement and increases turnover intentions and work-life spillover for all types of workers, even ideal workers. The effects of perceived bias on satisfaction, turnover, and spillover operate beyond experiences with family responsibilities discrimination and having colleagues who are unsupportive of work-life balance. We show that workplace cultures that harbor flexibility bias—and, by extension, that valorize ideal work—may affect the entire workforce in costly ways.
Around the world, however, most employed women automatically get paid maternity leave. And in most wealthy countries, they also have access to affordable child care.
These holes in the national safety net are a problem for many reasons, including one I’ve been researching with my colleagues for years: Paid parental leave and child care help women stay in the workforce and earn higher wages over time. This lack of parental leave and child care may explain why the U.S. is no longer a leader in women’s workforce participation…..
Source: Stephanie A. Pink-Harper and Beth Rauhaus, Journal of Health and Human Services Administration, Vol. 40, No. 3, Winter 2017
From the abstract:
The term “family-friendly” has been broadened to “employee-friendly” to encompass employees who may not benefit from traditional familial benefits. This change in terminology, focusing on employees in a general sense, has not necessarily resulted in policies that are beneficial to a dynamic, diverse public service. As demographics and lifestyles of federal government employees change, human resource policies will need to adapt to meet the needs of this population. This research explores the impact that employee-friendly policies (i.e. family, health, and socio-economic) have on the employee, and the workplace environment. This project attempts to bridge the gap between the theory- driven creation of employee-friendly policies and the practice of beneficial policies that employees will take advantage of. Results suggest that as demographics of the public service change, the need for human resource practices to be modified becomes even more apparent to achieve an appropriate work-life balance. In order to address these challenges, this work offers policy recommendations for increased levels of job satisfaction, which focus on benefits useful in improving federal public servants’ wellness.