Equal Pay for Women:
In 2015, women made 78 cents for every dollar earned by a man. African American women earned 64 cents and Latina women earned 56 cents for every dollar earned by a white man. This is unacceptable. It is common sense that women and men should earn an equal income when they are doing equal work. This is about equality and justice for women, as well as, raising the living standards of working families. That is why I am a cosponsor of the Paycheck Fairness Act, which strengthens and closes loopholes in the Equal Pay Act, including providing effective remedies to women who are not being paid equal wages for equal work. I am also a cosponsor of the Fair Pay Act of 2017, which would prohibit discrimination in the payment of wages on account of gender or race.
Paid Family/Sick Leave:
In 1993, the Family and Medical Leave Act was passed to allow employees to take 12 weeks of unpaid, job-protected leave in a 12-month period to care for a family member, newborn, newly-adopted child, or newly-placed foster child. While this landmark legislation made great strides to help families during difficult and joyous times, we still have a long way to go to improve protected leave. The U.S. is the only country among 41 nations that does not mandate any paid leave for new parents. Studies have shown that offering paid parental leave is not only better for the family, but also the company and economy. That is why I am a cosponsor of the Federal Employees Paid Parental Leave Act, which provides that 6 of the 12 weeks of parental leave made available to a Federal employee must be paid. I am also a cosponsor of the FAMILY Act, which would provide up to 12 weeks of paid leave each year to workers for the birth or adoption of a new child, the serious illness of an immediate family member, or a worker’s own medical condition. Lastly, I am a cosponsor of the Healthy Families Act, which would allow workers in businesses with 15 or more employees to earn up to seven job protected paid sick days each year. Hardworking Americans should not have to choose between their taking care of their child, their health or the health of a family member and their paycheck.
Improving the Health of Pregnant Women and Infants:
For every 1,000 live births in the United States, nearly six babies will not live to see their first birthday, and the problem is dire in the state of Ohio. Ohio ranks 45th in the nation for infant mortality. A baby born in Iran has a greater chance of surviving the first year of life than a black baby born in Youngstown. A racial disparity in prematurity and infant mortality rates exists in every state and U.S. territory, with the mortality rate among black infants 2.2 times higher than that of non-Hispanic white infants. We must do more as a nation to help our most vulnerable, and that is why I have introduced the Healthy Start Reauthorization Act, which reauthorizes the Healthy Start for Infants Program. This program recognizes that a community-based approach to the early delivery of services to women and families improves perinatal outcomes. I am also a cosponsor of the Preventing Maternal Deaths Act which creates grants for states to save and sustain the health of the mothers during pregnancy, and the Healthy MOM Act, which creates a special enrollment period for pregnant women so they can enroll in or change their health insurance when they become pregnant. We must make sure every pregnant woman get access to the health care they and their babies need.