Resources and reporting for mothers and others who think about social change.
get active
about mmo
mmo blog
mmo Noteworthy

Research & Reports:

New state policy resource on breastfeeding and the workplace

Not getting by: In U.S., 22 percent of people in working families experience economic hardship

Women, mothers report greater fear about economic security

In MMO Blogworthy:

Another Mothers Day

New Jersey Senate passes family leave insurance bill

past editions of mmo noteworthy ...
Research & Reports:

New state policy resource on breastfeeding and the workplace

The Sloan Work & Family Research Network has released a new policy issue brief on Breastfeeding and the Workplace. The four-page briefing paper includes information about rates of breastfeeding from birth to six months and the status of state programs and legislation to protect and promote breastfeeding. The brief also reviews the known health benefits of breastfeeding, noting that mothers are less likely to miss work when their babies are healthy. Currently, 27 states have passed laws protecting the right to breastfeed in any public or private location where a mother is authorized to be; only seven (CA, CT, HI, MS, OR, TX, WA) plus the District of Columbia have laws that mandate support for breastfeeding in the workplace. Breastfeeding and the Workplace is the latest addition to the Research Network's Policy Briefing Series on work-family issues for state policy makers and advocates.

Sloan Work and Family Research Network at Boston College

State Policy Makers: Breastfeeding and the Workplace

Also new from Sloan Work and Family Research Network:
Work and Family Blog

- back to top -

Not getting by: In U.S., 22 percent of people in working families experience economic hardship

A new report from the Center for Economic and Policy Research finds that in the typical state, 22 percent of people in working families suffer from economic hardship because their earnings and income from other sources, including public work supports and other public benefits, fall below the cost of meeting basic needs for where they live.

The authors found that most economically insecure workers have "bad jobs" -- jobs that pay low wages and provide few or no benefits. The report shows that nation-wide, 30 percent of jobs can be classified as bad jobs, while only 1 out of every 4 jobs qualify as “good jobs" -- jobs that pay at least $17 an hour and provide health and retirement benefits. "Few workers in the middle-class and above rely solely on wages to maintain their standard of living," the authors explain. "Tax preferences underwrite the costs of private social benefits that promote the health and economic security of middle-class families, including employer based health insurance and retirement plans. These benefits are structured in a way that effectively excludes many workers in low-paid jobs from receiving them."

The study also looks at the impact of public work support programs -- including child care assistance, the Earned Income Tax Credit, food stamps, health insurance provided through Medicaid and the State Children’s Health Insurance Program, housing assistance, and income supplements provided through Temporary Assistance programs -- in helping families achieve economic security. In some states, work supports closed as much as half of the hardship gap for low-income working families, but the authors of the CEPR report found that substantial numbers of workers in low-paid jobs receive only modest or no help from work support programs.

"America’s social contract needs to be updated to ensure the economy works for all Americans," the report concludes. "Key elements of such a reform include strengthening basic labor market standards and institutions, expanding workers’ access to post-secondary education and training, and reforming the system of public and private social benefits for workers."

The fifteen-page report, Working Families and Economic Insecurity in the States, includes a series colorful, easy-to-read graphics on factors related to families' economic insecurity in all 50 states.

Center for Economic and Policy Research

Working Families and Economic Insecurity in the States:
The Role of Job Quality and Work Supports

Shawn Fremstad, Rebecca Ray, and Hye Jin Rho
CEPR, May 2008. 15 pages, in .pdf

Also new from CEPR:

The Union Wage Advantage for Low-Wage Workers
John Schmitt, May 2008
The author finds that unionization is particularly effective in raising the wages of low-wage workers, raising the wages of the typical low-wage worker by 21 percent compared to 14 percent for the typical medium wage worker, and 6 percent for the typical high-wage worker. A similar pattern holds throughout all 50 states, with unionization raising the wages of the lowest-wage workers the most.

- back to top -

Women, mothers report greater fear about economic security

A May 2008 analysis by the Institute for Women's Policy Research finds that women and mothers are more anxious than men about their personal economic security. On issues ranging from retirement security to the risk of job loss, women reported higher rates of economic anxiety than men with similar demographic characteristics. For example, the study found that 20 percent of female college graduates reported were worried about facing economic insecurity, compared to 14 percent of men with college degrees. Overall, 39 percent of women worried about having enough money to live on, compared to 28 percent of men. "Women's unease about their finances is not simply a greater propensity to worry," the authors of the study report. "It reflects their experiences of material hardship."

Among married parents, mothers were more likely to experience economic anxiety (27 percent) than fathers (21 percent). Mothers were also a greater risk of losing their jobs (24 percent) than fathers and non-fathers (16 and 15 percent, respectively) and women without children (13 percent). Women were also more likely than men to report experiencing privation in the year prior to the survey because they could not afford to buy food (7 compared with 4 percent), health care (22 compared with 14 percent), or to fill a medical prescription (22 versus 12 percent). Twice as many women (12 percent) as men (6 percent) reported that at least once in the past year, they could not afford to take a child to the doctor. Among women, African American and Hispanic women reported greater economic anxiety and higher rates of economic hardship and privation than white women. Single mothers also reported higher rates of economic anxiety than married mothers, with 40 percent of single mothers saying that they were worried or very worried about their economic security, compared to 27 percent of married mothers.

The report includes a range of policy recommendations to reduce the increased economic vulnerability of women, people of color, and low income workers. "As a society," the authors suggest,

We should try to reduce economic vulnerability for everyone and ensure economic security in old age, health care, adequate food and shelter, and education for all, so that no one has to go without these basics. As a practical matter, to reach everyone, programs to provide income security, health care, food, and increased educational opportunities will have to be targeted to low-income people, especially parents, people of color, and single mothers.

Other recommendations include eliminating pay disparities between men and women and between people of color and whites, and helping parents "get on a more equal footing with non-parents" with greater public investment in child care, building more flexibility into workplaces, assuring working parents have access to paid medical and caregiving leave, creating more options for quality part-time work, and "leadership from the federal government on valuing care work as performed by both women and men."

Institute for Women's Policy Research

Women at Greater Rick of Economic Insecurity:
A Gender Analysis of the Rockefeller Foundation's American Worker Survey

Vicky Lovell, Heidi Hartmann, and Claudia Williams
Institute for Women's Policy Research, May 2008
Fact Sheet, 4 pages in .pddf
Full Report, 27 pages in .pdf

- back to top -

In MMO Blogworthy:

Another Mothers Day
With all eyes on the high drama of the Democratic primary race, Mother's Day has taken a back seat in the news cycle this spring. And that's just fine with me, since I've truly come to dread the mainstream media's perverse fascination with reviving the mommy wars every year. In any case, I'm here to liberate motherhood, not to celebrate it.

New Jersey Senate passes family leave insurance bill
After more than a decade of fierce opposition split largely along party lines, the New Jersey Senate passed a bill to provide state workers with partial wage replacement for up to six weeks of family and medical leave.

- back to top -

April/May 2008

previously in mmo noteworthy ...

Reuse of content for publication or compensation by permission only.
© 2003-2008 The Mothers Movement Online.


The Mothers Movement Online