Dayton Announces First-Ever Paid Parental Leave Policy

Today, Dayton Mayor Nan Whaley announced that City employees will now be eligible for up to six additional weeks of paid time off after the birth or adoption of a new child. This is in addition to existing leave policies that allow employees to use accrued sick or vacation time. As a result of the policy, employees will be able to spend more time caring for and bonding with new family members, time which has been shown to have numerous benefits for child and maternal health, gender equity and the local economy.

Mayor Whaley has recognized what many Fortune 500 CEO’s have realized, which is that establishing a paid parental leave policy is good for women, families, employers and local communities.

With today’s announcement of Dayton’s first-ever paid parental leave policy, the city aligns itself with dozens of thriving private sector companies who have also recently announced similar polices.

This year alone, Nestle, Johnson & Johnson and Goldman Sachs all announced the implementation of some form of paid parental leave. And just this month, Netflix, Adobe and Microsoft all added their names to this list.

These highly successful companies have all provided paid leave for their employees after the birth or adaption of a baby because they know that doing so improves employee retention, job satisfaction, and productivity and helping employers compete for top talent.

Benefits of Paid Parental Leave

In addition to being a good policy for both employers and employees, paid parental leave also has numerous benefits to individuals and communities. As Innovation Ohio outlined in a report earlier this year, the availability of paid parental leave means that low-wage workers are less inclined to drop out of the workforce and on to public assistance.  This not only reduces gender and economic disparities, but it strengthens regional economies.

Paid parental leave can also improve critical health outcomes like immunization and infant mortality.  A review of global data found that increases in access to paid leave was associated with 22 to 25 percent higher rates of immunization for DPT3, Measles and Polio. Studies from 18 of the world’s largest market-based democracies also found that access to paid leave has decreased in deaths in the first month of life by 2.6 percent and in the first year of life of life by 4.1 percent!

We are encouraged that Mayor Whaley and the city of Dayton are leading by example on this important policy. We hope other employers and communities throughout Ohio will follow suit.

Senator Portman Must Reconsider ‘Yes’ Vote on TPP Fast Track

smokestacks_fb

As the US Senate passes a bill allowing for fast tract authority on the controversial trade deal titled the Trans-Pacific Trade Partnership (TPP), Ohio finds itself, once again, on the brink of possibly damaging economic consequences. The TPP is a free trade agreement between 12 Pacific Rim nations and is said to offer opportunities for economic growth in America and strategic leadership in Asia.

Republicans like Rob Portman hope to force the deal through to the President’s desk this week but have failed to mention its possible harmful ramifications for states like Ohio. Instead, Mr. Portman chooses to focus on campaign donations from pro-trade lobbies. Preceding the May 23rd vote to fast track TPP, Senator Portman claimed almost $120,000 in campaign donations from the US Business Coalition for TPP.

One only need to look back at the consequences of past free trade agreements to realize that the damage that future deals could cause for Ohio and America’s hard working middle class families far supersedes collections of campaign financing.

The North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), for example, played a significant part in the loss of 323,308 manufacturing jobs in Ohio and nearly 5 million manufacturing jobs nationally. Furthermore, private sector manufacturing jobs in Ohio have declined from 23.4 percent to 14.9 percent in the NAFTA era.

Remaining manufacturing jobs and other similar paying positions were subject to trends of wage suppression. A report from the Economic Policy Institute suggests that increased free trade from NAFTA like deals has suppressed the wages of non-college educated workers around $1,800. Free trade has similar effects on small family farms with 12,000 small-scale farms going out of business since NAFTA’s implementation.

Consequences such as these cannot be ignored and our representatives in Washington D.C. must strive to acquire a better deal for middle class Americans.

While we can’t avoid international trade and the modern global economy, representatives like Mr. Portman must work harder to negotiate trade deals that do not crush middle class Americans instead of working to please pro-trade campaign donors. We therefore encourage Mr. Portman to revoke his support for the TPP and consider the ramifications of increased free trade on middle class America.

IO Analysis: The Benefits of Paid Parental Leave

paidleave
The United States falls behind the rest of the world in providing workers with guaranteed paid parental leave. Only 13% of U.S. workers enjoy paid family leave benefits, and the number is much lower — 4% — among low-wage workers. Workers without access to paid leave are more likely to leave the workforce, stay out of work far longer, in many case relying on public assistance, costing taxpayers and the local economy all while reducing family economic security.

In Ohio, women make up nearly half of the state’s labor force. Paid parental leave policies are a critical way to keep our workforce and local economy strong. Our latest research looks at the state of paid parental leave and the many benefits it can offer.

Research Highlights

Paid parental leave policies have many benefits for women, families, employers and society as a whole. Among them include:

Strengthens Women and Families
  • The majority of young children depend on the income of working mothers, who are increasingly likely to be sole or primary breadwinners in their families. Paid maternity and paternity leave policies preserve income and increase health outcomes for women and their dependent children.
Reduces Gender and Economic Disparities
  • When taking leave without pay is the only option for a new parent, unmarried, nonwhite and less educated parents are the least likely to make use of this benefit. This relatively low level of leave-taking by less advantaged workers can create health and economic disparities for parents and children.
Improves Critical Health Outcomes
  • Longer leaves that result from the availability of paid time off have been shown to improve the health prospects of women and their babies. Rates of infant mortality, immunization and breastfeeding have all been seen to improve when women have access to paid leave during pregnancy and after childbirth.
Positive Impacts on the Local Economy
  • Paid leave policies for mothers and fathers increase the level of women’s employment and participation in the regional workforce, and contribute to higher levels of employment rates and wages for mothers in the years following childbirth. And by preserving family income, these policies also reduce demand for public assistance and social services.
A Stronger, More Productive Workforce
  • Paid leave policies have numerous benefits for local employers by improving employee retention, job satisfaction, and productivity and helping employers compete for top talent.

Read the report: “IO Analysis – The Benefits of paid parental leave for women, families, employers and local communities

Minimum Wage Proposal Would Help Ohio Women and Families

On Thursday, Senator Patty Murray and Rep. Bobby Scott introduced the Raise the Wage Act in Congress. The legislation would raise the federal minimum wage to $12 an hour and eliminate the tipped wage by 2020. The federal minimum wage would increase from $7.25 to $8 in 2016 (still below Ohio’s current minimum wage of $8.10), then by an additional $1 each year until 2020. After that, it would continue to rise as it would be indexed to the nation’s median wage.

The plan would raise the wage for over 1.4 million Ohio workers and add $4.3 billion to the state’s economy over five years. The Economic Policy Institute (EPI) reports that the legislation would result in a pay increase for nearly 29 percent of Ohio’s workforce, including 44 percent of African Americans and nearly a quarter of workers age 55 and older.

The proposal would be particularly meaningful for Ohio’s women and families. According to the EPI analysis, 62 percent of those who would see their wages go up are women. 43 percent of the state’s single moms would get a raise. And under a $12 minimum wage, 23 percent of the children in Ohio would see their family income grow.

min_wage_stat

Raising the wage has the additional benefit of reducing reliance on public assistance. The UC Berkeley Labor Center estimates that taxpayers spend nearly $153 billion each year on public support for workers making poverty wages. Over half of fast-food workers or their dependents are enrolled in one of four major public assistance programs.

Download: Economic Policy Institute’s Ohio Minimum Wage Fact Sheet

 

 

Budget Update: Chipping Away

Anti-worker provisions still remain in the pending state budget (HB 64) following the release of House revisions.  We explain what those provisions mean for the middle-class.

sb5

Chipping Away:

  • Several provisions still in the budget will likely lead to more privatization and reduced working standards for important services like protecting senior citizens from abuse and neglect.  Additional changes also deny some workers’ rights to employees at community-based correctional facilities.

Race to the Bottom:

  • Another provision in the budget would end the long-standing option of Project Labor Agreements (PLAs), which protects taxpayers and strengthens local economies.  
  • PLAs ensure that the terms and conditions of public construction projects are not substandard and the wages are fair.  They also help make sure that the work is done efficiently and effectively by doing such things as preventing strikes and requiring a higher degree of quality control.
  • Ending of this practice would likely reduce wages for working Ohioans and increase the risk of shoddy work on public construction projects.

Why it Matters for the Middle Class:  

  • When workers have fewer opportunities to bargain for the safety and effectiveness of their work, as well as the fairness of their wages, the economy suffers and the middle class shrinks.

Labor-budget-update-2

To keep up to date on our budget watch, be sure to sign up for IO’s email list.