On Equal Pay Day, Maloney Pushes Agenda to Expand Economic Opportunities for Women
Washington – With women still earning less than men nationally, Representative Sean Patrick Maloney (NY-18) announced an agenda to “Expand Economic Opportunities for Women.” Equal Pay Day is the symbolic day when, more than three months into the year, women's earnings catch up to men's earnings from the previous year. According to the most recent statistics, women in the Hudson Valley earn on average nearly $12,000 less per year than men, or they earn approximately 80% compared to their male counterpart.
“Women in the Hudson Valley are more likely to be the breadwinners, caretakers, innovators, and leaders at home, at work, and in our communities,” said Rep. Maloney. “We all benefit when women and girls are treated equally – it makes our families, community and economy stronger, and as the father of two young girls I want to ensure they grow up in a country where they have economic security and equal opportunity. It’s time for Congress to follow New York’s lead and invest in an agenda that tears down barriers and expands women’s economic opportunities.”
According to a report from the United States Joint Economic Committee, the Hudson Valley was ranked 17th out of New York’s 27 Congressional Districts for gender pay equity. This year’s report marked an improvement over the previous two years reported, both of which listed the 18th district as the least equitable district in New York for gender pay equity. Earlier this month, New York State passed a budget that would implement the most comprehensive paid family medical leave program in the country, and would incrementally raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour.
Rep. Maloney’s Plan to “Expand Economic Opportunities for Women”:
Strengthen Equal Pay Act
More than fifty years after President Kennedy signed the Equal Pay Act, Hudson Valley women working full time earn 80.8% of men’s median earnings. This amounts to a yearly gap of $11,732. Nationally, women make on average 79 cents for every dollar earned by men, which amount to a yearly gap of $10,800. The Paycheck Fairness Act strengthens and closes loopholes in the Equal Pay Act by providing effective remedies to women who are not being paid equal wages for doing equal work and protecting employees from retaliation for sharing salary information with their co-workers.
Increase the Federal Minimum Wage to $15.00
More than 6 in 10 minimum wage workers in New York are women, and someone working full time, year round at minimum wage today earns just $18,000. New York State just passed a minimum wage increase, but the federal minimum wage would ensure women nationwide would earn a living wage. In addition to supporting the minimum wage increase recently passed in New York, Representative Maloney is supporting the Pay Workers a Living Wage Act, which would raise the federal minimum wage to $15.00 over the next four years – giving millions of Americans a pay increase, including women.
Establish National Paid Family and Medical Leave
Current Family and Medical Leave law provides unpaid, job-protected leave for serious health related events for only about half of the workforce. The other half don’t qualify for this unpaid leave, and many more simply cannot afford to take it because it is unpaid. The Family and Medical Insurance Leave (FAMILY) Act would establish a national paid family and medical leave insurance program, ensuring that American workers would no longer have to choose between a paycheck and caring for themselves or a family member.
Expanding the Child Care Tax Credit
Over 90 percent of families use some kind of child care. Our tax code must catch up to working parents with young children. Current law limits benefits to families with incomes greater than $43,000 to a 20 percent credit instead of the full 35 percent credit. Middle-class families should be able to claim the full tax credit for their child care expenses.
Increase Quality and Affordable Early Childhood Education
Investing in early education programs like Head Start is one of the single most important things we can do to open up opportunities for kids and set our children up for a lifetime of success. The Strong Start for America's Children Act is an innovative federal-state partnership to expand and improve early learning opportunities for children across the birth to kindergarten. The Early Childhood Nutrition Improvement Act would help child care centers, Head Start programs, and afterschool programs provide nutritious meals and snacks to children.
Making College More Affordable
Women are 21 percent more likely to be college graduates and 48 percent more likely to have completed graduate school. Yet increasingly college graduates are saddled with unmanageable and crushing student loan debt payments preventing them from buying a home or starting their own business. The Bank on Students Emergency Loan Refinancing Act would allow borrowers with high interest rates on their outstanding student loans to refinance at much lower levels.
Protect a Woman’s Freedom of Choice
A woman’s right to choose is a decision best made by a woman, her doctor and her family – not Washington politicians. Instead of defunding Planned Parenthood, we should ensure woman have access to affordable preventive healthcare services including breast and cervical cancer screenings.
Support Women Entrepreneurs and Small Businesses
Women entrepreneurs account for just $1 out of every $23 in small business lending, despite representing approximately 30 percent of all small companies. They are also more likely to be turned down for loans or face less favorable terms than men. The Women’s Small Business Ownership Act would improve access to lending and increase business counseling and training services for women entrepreneurs, and give women-owned businesses more access to federal contracts.
Rep. Maloney first released his plan to “Expand Economic Opportunities for Women” in 2014, which Politico called “one of the most extensive efforts” to highlight economic challenges facing women.