Pennsylvania mothers are the primary or co-breadwinners in nearly two-thirds—or 65.3 percent—of Pennsylvania families. Nearly 1 of every 5 kids living in Pennsylvania are living in poverty, a statistic that is rising. Workplace equality begins with equal pay for equal work, eliminating discrimination against pregnant and nursing workers, addressing pay reductions due to pregnancy and care-giving responsibilities, eliminating wage theft and raising the minimum wage so that it is a living wage.
Workplace Equality in Pennsylvania
Pennsylvania is particularly hostile to working women, especially pregnant workers and working mothers. In many areas of Pennsylvania, a pregnant woman can be fired over temporary, minor accommodations such as an extra glass of water or needing to lean on a stool while standing behind a cash register. Pregnant workers should not have to choose between following doctors’ orders and keeping a job. Thanks to local city ordinances, some working women in Philadelphia and Pittsburgh have more protections than women working in the rest of the state. We believe all Pennsylvania women deserve workplace equality. Learn more about pregnancy discrimination
If a pregnant worker successfully keeps her job until childbirth, she is unlikely to be able to take adequate time to care for the baby. The United States is the only developed country in the world that provides zero weeks of paid leave for new parents, forcing many new mothers back to work within weeks, or even days, of childbirth. Though some states such as New Jersey have state-level parental leave policies in place, Pennsylvania families have no support. Once back at work after childbirth, many moms are forced to choose between breastfeeding babies and earning a paycheck.
Pennsylvania is failing to achieve breastfeeding goals set by public health experts as a key strategy to improve infant and maternal health. One reason for that failure is because Pennsylvania has failed to enact workplace protections that would enable more new mothers to continue breastfeeding after returning to work. By refusing to heed medical experts and pass basic protections, lawmakers have ensured that pregnancy and motherhood are barriers to workplace equality in Pennsylvania. Learn More About Breastfeeding Rights
A working woman does not need to be a mother to experience workplace inequality. Our state equal pay law is ineffective. While gender wage gaps persist across the country, Pennsylvania women are worse off than the national average. American women, on average, will not achieve equal pay until 2058. Pennsylvania women are not on track to earn equal pay until the year 2072.
Sexual harassment is another obstacle to workplace equality in Pennsylvania. Currently, women working at very small companies are not as well-protected by laws against sex discrimination as women working for big corporations.