Jan 08, 2016
How Social Security & Paid Leave Policies Affect Women’s
Prospects for Healthy Lives
Heidi Hartmann, Ph.D.President, Institute for Women’s Policy ResearchResearch Professor of Women’s Studies and Public Policy, The George Washington UniversityCo-Editor, Journal of Women, Politics & Policy
October 31, 2011
(1) The following personal financial relationships with commercial interests relevant to this presentation existed during the past 12 months:
“No relationships to disclose”
Founded in 1987, the Institute for Women’s Policy Research conducts rigorous research and disseminates its findings to address the needs of women, promote public dialog, and strengthen families, communities, and societies.
IWPR has worked on paid leave issues since its founding, and has conducted research on paid sick days for nearly a decade.
IWPR has worked on women’s employment, retirement, Social Security, and access to health care and other women’s health issues since its founding
Men’s and Women’s Labor Force Participation Rates Are Converging Over Time (1950-2010)
Men’s and Women’s Wages Are Slowly Converging in the United States
Race and Gender Differences are Still Very Significant. White and Asian American Men Earn
the Most. Hispanic Women Earn the Least.
Asian American Women
Average Annual Earnings of Women Employed Full-Time/Year-Round in the United States, by Race and Ethnicity, 2009
Source: Institute for Women's Policy Research Compilation of Current Population Survey Labor Force Statistics, 2009. <http://www.census.gov/hhes/www/cpstables/032010/perinc/new05_001.htm> (retrieved September 16 2010).
Public Policies that have Increased Women’s Employment Opportunities
1935 Wagner Act (established right of labor unions to bargain collectively for workers)
1938 Fair Labor Standards Act (established the minimum wage and time-and-a-half premium for hours > 40 per week)
1963 Equal Pay Act (must pay women and men in substantially equal jobs the same wage)
1964 Civil Rights Act (Title VII on employment included sex from the beginning)
1967 Executive Orders 11246 and 11375 (amended to include prohibition of discrimination based on sex by federal
contractors) 1972 Title IX of the Education Amendments (requires
nondiscrimination by all schools receiving federal aid) 1978 Pregnancy Discrimination Act (if employers provide leave, or
other benefits, for workers with other health conditions--heart attacks, car accidents--they must do the same for pregnant women and women who
experience child birth) 1993 Family and Medical Leave Act (provides up to 12 weeks of
job-guaranteed, unpaid leave for family care or own illness to workers with 1 year of job tenure and at least 1250 hours of work in prior year at firms
with more than 50 employees—covers about ½ the workforce)
Marriage is More Common among Middle-/Upper-Income FamiliesShare of Families in Each Income Group by Family Type, 2009
Source: IWPR analysis of U.S. Census Bureau, Current Population Survey, 2010 Annual Social and Economic Supplement (October 25, 2011).
Health Benefits of Paid Sick Days
Improving Care for Prevention and Controlling Chronic Conditions
Reducing Emergency Room Use
Percentage without Access to Paid Sick Days
Note: Private sector, 18 years and olderSource: Institute for Women’s Policy Research analysis of the 2009 National Health Interview Survey, Person and Sample Adult File
Workers without paid sick leave are more likely to attend work while sick.
Presenteeism has real costs and impacts.
Seasonal influenza spread is greater, impacting businesses and their workers.
During the H1N1 pandemic, 8 million workers went to work sick and infected as many as 7 million people.
Public sector workers, who have more paid sick days than private sector workers, missed fewer work days overall in the H1N1 pandemic than did private sector workers.
Preventive care such as immunizations, cancer screenings, and tobacco cessation can reduce health care costs while improving outcomes.
In 2005, over 130 million Americans had a chronic health condition; managing chronic conditions is a key strategy for controlling health care costs and improving outcomes.
Paid sick days facilitate preventive care, including for children
Reducing ER Use Many ER visits are avoidable; 14% of visits are non-
Emergency room visits cost much more than a primary care visit, inflating health care costs.
Paid sick days help workers make appointments in advance and during business hours to see primary care providers.
IWPR analysis shows that workers with paid sick days are less likely to visit the ER.
Unnecessary ER Visits in USA
Private-Sector Workers, Estimated 104,697,285Percent Without PSD 42%Percent With PSD 58%Workers with no PSD 43,972,860Workers with PSD 60,724,425Annual ER Use Without PSD 0.3817Annual ER Use With PSD 0.3515Current ER Use 38,129,076Preventable ER Use 1,327,980Cost Premium of ER Use Over Primary Care $825.57 Annual Cost of ER Visits Preventable with Paid Sick Days $1,096,347,000
In the Recession, Women’s Share of the Labor Force Increased and Nearly Reached Equality, but has Since Declined in the Recovery
More women than experience difficulty paying their living expenses; both women and men experience the most difficulty paying for health care and health insurance
Impact of the Recent RecessionWomen and men are increasingly worried about not having enough to live on in
retirement;more women are worried than men
Note: Bars show percent responding “A lot” or “A fair amount.”Source: IWPR analysis from Figures 2.3 and 2.4 in Hess, Cynthia, Jeff Hayes, and Heidi Hartmann. 2011. “Retirement on the Edge: Women, Men, and Economic Insecurity After the Great Recession.” Washington, DC: Institute for Women’s Policy Research.IWPR analysis of the Rockefeller AmericanWorkers Survey 2007 (N=1,772 women) and IWPR/Rockefeller Survey ofEconomic Security 2010 (N=1,514 women).
Percentage of Women and Men Claiming to Be Worried About Not Having Enough to Live On, 2007-2010
Women’s Worries about Retirement, 2007–2010
Note: Bars show percent responding “A lot” or “A fair amount.”Source: IWPR analysis of the Rockefeller American Workers Survey 2007 (N=1,772 women) and IWPR/Rockefeller Survey of Economic Security 2010 (N=1,514 women).
Social Security Basic Facts
675.5 billion of Social Security goes to 53 million people:
• 36 million - retired workers and their family members - 69.3%
• 10 million - disabled workers and their families - 18.5%
• 6 million - survivors of deceased workers - 12.2% OR
• 4 million children (including disabled adult children and students aged 18-19)
• 21 million men• 27 million women
Income Sources for Women Aged 65 or More, 1989-2009
Income Sources for Men Aged 65 or More, 1989-2009
1960 1970 1980 1990 2000 2009
Women's Entitlement Status, 1960-2009 (All women aged 62 and older)
Dependents OnlyDually EntitledWorkers Only
Source: Social Security Administration
Women’s eligibility as workers has increased; More women are dually entitled by both marriage and own work; Fewer women are eligible
solely because of marriage
Pluses of Social Security for Women Everyone with at least 10 years’ work at $4,480 per year is fully
Almost 95% of today’s young women are expected to be fully covered by age 62.
90% of women aged 65 and older receive Social Security benefits.
Provides benefits to wives whether they worked for pay or not, former wives (provided they had a ten-year marriage), and widows of workers. Also provides benefits to three million minor children (and care-taking spouses) of deceased or disabled workers.
Fully adjusted for inflation (especially important for long-lived women).
Returns more to lower earning than higher earning workers (redistributive).
Not subject to market risks or investment decisions.
Some Disadvantages for Women in Social Security
Based on 35 years of earnings; non-earning years are averaged in as zeroes.
Unmarried women who did caregiving have no access to spousal benefits.
There are no benefits for caregiving outside of marriage.
A married, retired worker must choose between own benefit and spousal benefit.
What a Caregiving Credit Could Look Like
Provide an earnings credit for every year with a child under 6 (available to both parents and/or non-married partners)
Example: Parents of young children would receive an earnings credit of at least $15,000 per year even if they earned nothing.
Reward work effort so that earners have somewhat more $ on their record than non-earners.
Earnings Credit$0 $15,000$7,500 $20,000$10,000 $21,500$15,000 $22,500$20,000 $23,000$30,000 $30,000
We need to improve Social Security for Women to:
Account for women’s increased work effort
Account for caregiving outside marriage and new family structures
Increase benefits for vulnerable women who live alone
Strengthen Social Security and increase benefits for women, not cut back on Social Security just as economic insecurity is increasing.
For More Information
Contact Me: Heidi Hartmann, Ph.D., President,
Institute for Women’s Policy Research email@example.com
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