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Health & Safety

Health and Safety

Women have a set of specific concerns when it comes to health. More often than not, women make the majority of health care-related decisions regarding health issues for their families, are the primary caregivers, and spend more than their male counterparts on health (KFF 2009; Agency for 2004). While women, on average, are more likely than men to have health insurance, they are at special risk of a number of specific health conditions, such as depression and exposure to intimate partner violence. Low-income women and women of color are especially likely to experience poor health outcomes, with African American women, in particular, showing much higher rates of HIV/AIDS, heart disease, diabetes, and infants with low birth weight. These realities make consideration of woman-specific issues vitally important to policy decisions in the area of health.

IWPR’s research on women’s health and safety informs policy decisions by identifying gender and racial/ethnic disparities in health outcomes and access to health care services in addition to highlighting opportunities for improvement. IWPR’s reports and resources discuss a range of policy issues including access to paid sick days, the relationship between women’s health and socio-economic status, cost-benefit analyses of paid sick days provision, and rates of breastfeeding.

An IWPR fact sheet reported that 44 million workers in the United States lacked paid sick days in 2010, with 77 percent of food service workers lacking access. Preceding the passage of the first state-wide paid sick days legislation in the United States in Connecticut, IWPR estimated that Connecticut taxpayers would save $4.7 million annually in a cost-benefit analysis of universal paid sick days provision.

Recent reports on policy impacts on breastfeeding rates estimate that the breastfeeding protections in the 2010 Affordable Care Act will increase the national rate of breastfeeding through six months of age by four full percentage points, giving more women and their children the opportunity to draw from the health benefits associated with breastfeeding, such as protection from childhood leukemia, sudden infant death syndrome, and diabetes.

View our suggested resources page or multimedia page for more information on this topic.

Latest Reports from IWPR

Valuing Good Health in New Hampshire: The Costs and Benefits of Paid Sick Days
by Kevin Miller, PhD, and Claudia Williams (October 2009)

New Hampshire lawmakers are now considering HB 662, which would make it mandatory for businesses with 10 or more employees to provide paid sick days. The Institute for Women’s Policy Research (IWPR) has estimated the costs and benefits of the proposed law, using government-collected data, peer-reviewed research literature, and a thoroughly vetted methodology. Below are key findings from IWPR’s cost-benefit analysis.

 

Valuing Good Health in New York City: The Costs and Benefits of Paid Sick Days
by Kevin Miller, PhD, and Claudia Williams (September 2009)

New York City lawmakers are now considering a law that would require employers provide all workers with paid sick days. The Institute for Women’s Policy Research (IWPR) has estimated the costs and benefits of the proposed law, using government collected data, peer-reviewed research literature, and a thoroughly vetted methodology. Below are key findings from IWPR’s analysis.

 

Valuing Good Health in New York City: The Costs and Benefits of Paid Sick Days-Full Executive Summary
by Kevin Miller, PhD, and Claudia Williams (September 2009)

New York City lawmakers are now considering a law that would require employers provide all workers with paid sick days. The Institute for Women’s Policy Research (IWPR) has estimated the costs and benefits of the proposed law, using government-collected data, peer-reviewed research literature, and a thoroughly vetted methodology. Below are key findings from IWPR’s analysis.

 

Valuing Good Health in New Hampshire: The Costs and Benefits of Paid Sick Days
by Kevin Miller, PhD, and Claudia Williams (September 2009)

New Hampshire lawmakers are now considering HB 662, which would make it mandatory for businesses with 10 or more employees to provide paid sick days. The Institute for Women’s Policy Research (IWPR) has estimated the costs and benefits of the proposed law, using government-collected data, peer-reviewed research literature, and a thoroughly vetted methodology. Below are key findings from IWPR’s cost-benefit analysis

 

The Need for Paid Parental Leave for Federal Employees: Adapting to a Changing Workforce-Executive Summary
by Kevin Miller, PhD, Allison Suppan Helmuth, and Robin Farabee-Siers (August 2009)

The federal government, unlike many large private employers, does not provide paid parental leave to its employees. The federal government is the largest single employer in the United States, but federal employees are significantly older and better educated than private sector workers and have already begun retiring at an increasing rate. The departure of many baby boomers from the federal workforce will require the government to recruit and retain younger workers, who expect more job flexibility than workers from previous generations. The Federal Employees Paid Parental Leave Act would provide four weeks of paid leave for federal workers who adopt, foster, or have a child. This report discusses the role that providing paid parental leave to federal employees could play in addressing federal workforce challenges. Providing paid parental leave for federal workers is expected to improve recruitment and retention of young workers, preventing $50 million per year in costs associated with employee turnover.

 

The Need for Paid Parental Leave for Federal Employees: Adapting to a Changing Workforce-Report
by Kevin Miller, PhD, Allison Suppan Helmuth, and Robin Farabee-Siers (August 2009)

The federal government, unlike many large private employers, does not provide paid parental leave to its employees. The federal government is the largest single employer in the United States, but federal employees are significantly older and better educated than private sector workers and have already begun retiring at an increasing rate. The departure of many baby boomers from the federal workforce will require the government to recruit and retain younger workers, who expect more job flexibility than workers from previous generations. The Federal Employees Paid Parental Leave Act would provide four weeks of paid leave for federal workers who adopt, foster, or have a child. This report discusses the role that providing paid parental leave to federal employees could play in addressing federal workforce challenges. Providing paid parental leave for federal workers is expected to improve recruitment and retention of young workers, preventing $50 million per year in costs associated with employee turnover.

 
Preview not available

Valuing Good Health in North Carolina
by (July 2009)

Policymakers across the country are increasingly interested in ensuring the adequacy of paid sick days policies. In addition to concerns about workers’ ability to respond to their own health needs, there is growing recognition that, with so many dual-earner and single-parent families, family members’ health needs can only be addressed by workers taking a break from their scheduled time on the job. Allowing workers with contagious diseases to avoid unnecessary contact with co-workers and customers is a fundamental public health measure. Paid sick days protect workers from being fired when they are too sick to work, offer substantial savings to employers by reducing turnover and minimizing absenteeism.

 

Parents As Child Care Providers: A Menu of Parental Leave Models
by Vicky Lovell, PhD and Allison Suppan Helmuth (May 2009)

Public policy efforts to strengthen the early care and education system in the US could benefit by placing greater emphasis on the role that working parents can play. One policy advance that would reduce pressure on the early child care market is to expand support for employees caring for their newborns at home.

 

Valuing Good Health in North Carolina: The Costs and Benefits of Paid Sick Days
by Kevin Miller, Ph.D., and Claudia Williams (May 2009)

North Carolina lawmakers are now considering the Healthy Families and Healthy Workplaces Act. The Institute for Women’s Policy Research (IWPR) has estimated the costs and benefits of the Healthy Families and Healthy Workplaces Act, using government-collected data, peer-reviewed research literature, and a thoroughly vetted methodology. Below are key findings from IWPR’s cost-benefit analysis.

 

Valuing Good Health in Illinois: The Costs and Benefits of Paid Sick Days
by Vicky Lovell, Ph.D. (February 2009)

Policymakers across the country are increasingly interested in ensuring the adequacy of paid sick days policies. In addition to concerns about workers’ ability to respond to their own health needs, there is growing recognition that, with so many dual-earner and single-parent families, family members’ health needs can be addressed only by workers taking time from their scheduled hours on the job. Paid sick days policies also allow workers with contagious diseases to avoid unnecessary contact with co-workers and customers and, thus, are a fundamental public health measure. Paid sick days protect workers from being fired when they are too sick to work and offer substantial savings to employers by reducing turnover and minimizing absenteeism.

 

Valuing Good Health in Massachusetts: The Costs and Benefits of Paid Sick Days
by Vicky Lovell, PhD, Kevin Miller, PhD, and Claudia Williams (February 2009)

Policy makers across the country are increasingly interested in ensuring the adequacy of paid sick days policies. In addition to concerns about workers’ ability to respond to their own health needs, there is growing recognition that, with so many dual-earner and single-parent families, family members’ health needs can be addressed only by workers taking time from their scheduled hours on the job. Paid sick days policies also allow workers with contagious diseases to avoid unnecessary contact with co-workers and customers and, thus, are a fundamental public health measure. Paid sick days protect workers from being fired when they are too sick to work and offer substantial savings to employers by reducing turnover and minimizing absenteeism.

 

Valuing Good Health in Massachusetts: The Costs and Benefits of Paid Sick Days
by Vicky Lovell, PhD, Kevin Miller, PhD, and Claudia Williams (January 2009)

FULL EXECUTIVE SUMMARY Policy makers across the country are increasingly interested in ensuring the adequacy of paid sick days policies. In addition to concerns about workers’ ability to respond to their own health needs, there is growing recognition that, with so many dual-earner and single-parent families, family members’ health needs can be addressed only by workers taking time from their scheduled hours on the job. Paid sick days policies also allow workers with contagious diseases to avoid unnecessary contact with co-workers and customers and, thus, are a fundamental public health measure. Paid sick days protect workers from being fired when they are too sick to work and offer substantial savings to employers by reducing turnover and minimizing absenteeism.

 
Preview not available

Valuing Good Health in Illinois
by (January 2009)

Policymakers across the country are increasingly interested in ensuring the adequacy of paid sick days policies. In addition to concerns about workers’ ability to respond to their own health needs, there is growing recognition that, with so many dual-earner and single-parent families, family members’ health needs can be addressed only by workers taking time from their scheduled hours on the job. Paid sick days policies also allow workers with contagious diseases to avoid unnecessary contact with co-workers and customers and, thus, are a fundamental public health measure. Paid sick days protect workers from being fired when they are too sick to work and offer substantial savings to employers by reducing turnover and minimizing absenteeism. Illinois lawmakers are now considering the Healthy Workplace Act. The Institute for Women’s Policy Research (IWPR) has estimated the costs and benefits of the Healthy Workplace Act, using government-collected data, peer-reviewed research literature, and a thoroughly vetted methodology. Below are key findings from IWPR’s cost-benefit analysis.

 

An Estimate of Program Cost under Oregon Senate Bill 966, the Family Leave Benefits Insurance Act
by (December 2008)

Children First for Oregon requested that the Institute for Women’s Policy Research (IWPR) analyze the Family Leave Benefits Insurance Act in order to provide lawmakers and policy advocates with information about the likely costs and use of a universal paid family leave insurance program in Oregon. This document presents that estimate.

 

Job Growth Strong with Paid Sick Days
by Vicky Lovell, PhD and Kevin Miller, PhD (October 2008)

Job growth has been strong in San Francisco compared with other Bay Area counties following implementation of a new paid sick days standard in San Francisco on February 5, 2007, according to data from the California Employment Development Department.1

 

Paid Sick Days Initiative Would Support Milwaukee Victims of Domestic Violence
by Vicky Lovell, Ph.D. (September 2008)

Milwaukee’s paid sick days referendum would allow workers to take time from their scheduled hours on the job to recover from illness. It would also guarantee more than 260,000 Milwaukeeans the ability to access services for domestic violence and sexual assault, without the risk of losing wages or a job.1 While a relatively small number of Milwaukee workers will likely need paid time off for these purposes, this job-protected paid time off could be critical to building family safety and security.

 

A Prescription for Good Asthma Care for Children: Paid Sick Days for Milwaukee Parents Parents’ Lack of Job Flexibility Hurts Children with Chronic Health Problems
by Vicky Lovell, Ph.D. (September 2008)

Asthma treatment is a priority for Wisconsin’s public health system, according to the Wisconsin Turning Point Transformation Team.1 The most common chronic health problem for children, asthma sent nearly 3,800 Wisconsin children to the emergency room in 2005, and more than 700 were hospitalized, at a cost of close to $4 million.

 

Valuing Good Health in Milwaukee: The Costs and Benefits of Paid Sick Days
by Vicky Lovell, Ph.D. (August 2008)

 

The Cost of Paid Parental Leave for Federal Workers: Revising a CBO Cost Estimate to Reflect H.R. 5781’s Proposed Four-Week Policy
by Vicky Lovell, PhD and Kevin Miller, PhD (August 2008)

org The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) has estimated the five-year cost of a proposed paid parental leave program for federal workers.1 The estimate for H.R. 5781 makes a problematic assumption about administration of the Federal Employees Paid Parental Leave Act (FEPPLA) by the Office of Personnel Management (OPM). The CBO estimates a 50 percent probability that OPM will use the authority granted in the bill to increase the amount of paid leave available to eligible employees to eight weeks (from four weeks) in the second fiscal year of the program.

 
Preview not available

Valuing Good Health in Milwaukee, The Costs and Benefits of Paid Sick Days
by Vicky Lovell (August 2008)

Policy makers across the country are increasingly interested in ensuring the adequacy of paid sick days policies. In addition to concerns about workers' ability to respond to their own health needs, there is growing recognition that, with so many dual-earners and single-parent families, family members' health needs can be addressed only by workers taking time from their scheduled hours on the job. Paid sick days policies also allow workers with contagious diseases to avoid unnecessary contact with co-workers and customers and, thus, are a fundamental public health measure. Paid sick days prevent workers from being fired when they are too sick to work and offer substantial savings to employers by reducing turnover and minimizing absenteeism. Milwaukee voters will have the opportunity to enact a minimum paid sick days standard on November 4th, 2008. The Institute for Women's Policy Research has estimated the costs and benefits of the Milwaukee paid sick days referendum, using government collected data, peer-reviewed research literature, and a methodology that has been implemented in several other jurisdictions. This executive summary presents key findings from the cost/benefit analysis.

 
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