Mothers have long faced economic inequality in the United States. Early June marked Moms’ Equal Pay Day, symbolizing how long it took moms to earn what dads earned in 2019. U.S. Census data from 2019 indicated that women working full time in the U.S. earned $0.82 for every dollar that men made in their jobs. However, mothers make just $0.70 for every dollar white, non-Hispanic fathers make. The pandemic has only intensified the problem, as mothers are being forced to choose between their jobs and their caregiving responsibilities.
Today, after years of advocacy, Tennessee becomes the 30th state in the country to provide stronger legal protections for pregnant workers. A Better Balance has been proud to lead the fight on the ground in Tennessee to enact the Tennessee Pregnant Workers Fairness Act over the past six years, working closely with a strong coalition of local and state partners as well as providing drafting and legal support.
Especially as governments lift stay at home orders, it is important for workers to know their rights. We have released a series of videos from our legal experts to help workers understand their rights when affected by COVID-19, so they will be empowered to exercise them. Please join us in sharing these videos with the hashtag #JusticeForWorkers.
Pregnant workers have rights during this pandemic. Through our free legal helpline, we've been hearing from pregnant workers across the country who have questions about their legal rights during this uncertain time. We spoke with the New York Times about the laws pregnant workers need to know. Read an excerpt below, and the full article by reporter Jessica Grose here.
Pregnant workers represented by co-counsel A Better Balance, Mehri & Skalet, PLLC and the National Women’s Law Center announced that on April 29, 2020, the United States District Court for the Southern District of Illinois approved a settlement in the amount of $14 million in the matter of Borders v. Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., No. 3:17-cv-0506 (S.D. Ill.). The settlement pays for claims by pregnant workers that they had requested but were denied workplace accommodations at Walmart between March 19, 2013 and March 5, 2014.
Knowledge is power! Our legal experts have put together three new know-your-rights FAQs for workers who are affected by COVID-19, addressing paid sick leave, pregnancy, and more. We are working to ensure all workers and families have the protections they need under the law, both during this crisis and beyond. If you have questions about your legal rights, contact our free legal helpline.
Join A Better Balance for this in-depth webinar on the various federal, state, and local laws that may protect you as a pregnant worker, including paid and unpaid time off, reasonable accommodations, and the right to be free from discrimination in the workplace. We'll provide various scenarios, answer your questions, and point you toward additional resources that can help you access your rights in the workplace.
In an open letter released today, A Better Balance, Oxfam, and other labor and health advocacy leaders call on the poultry industry to put into place stronger safety measures and protections for its workers. The recent alarming news that COVID-19 is spreading in poultry plants has highlighted the urgent need for action to ensure the U.S.'s 250,000 poultry workers—who are too often overlooked and undervalued—can stay healthy while supporting themselves and their families and keeping the nation fed.
In 29 states and 5 cities, pregnant workers may be entitled to reasonable accommodations during this crisis, including personal protective equipment, the ability to telework, and time off if needed. But women in every corner of the country need and deserve these protections. Congress must also pass the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act without delay to ensure pregnant workers in every state can receive the accommodations to remain healthy during this crisis and beyond.
Especially amidst the COVID-19 public health crisis, which is disproportionately impacting Black Americans, it’s more important than ever we address the longstanding, structural disparities in our healthcare system and our policies. As data from past epidemics shows, pregnant women may face additional barriers to receiving adequate care as resources are stretched thin, which could worsen existing inequities for Black mothers and babies.