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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

Memorandum: Possible amendment to L.D. 1665, An Act to Prevent the Spread of H1N1
by Kevin Miller, Ph.D. (March 2010)

This memo addresses the estimated impact of a proposed amendment to L.D. 1665, which would require Maine employers to allow workers to accrue paid sick days.

 

Sick at Work: Infected Employees in the Workplace During the H1N1 Pandemic
by Robert Drago, PhD, Pennsylvania State University, and Kevin Miller, PhD (January 2010)

During the recent flu pandemic, workers were urged to stay home when ill. Many employees in the U.S., however, either cannot take leave when they or a child are sick or do not receive pay for doing so, forcing them to choose between their paycheck and the health of their children, customers, coworkers, and selves. 2009 Bureau of Labor Statistics survey data reveal that two of five private sector workers lack paid sick days coverage, though 89 percent of state and local government employees and virtually all federal workers receive paid sick days.

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The Costs and Benefits of Paid Sick Days
by (January 2010)

Testimony of Kevin Miller, Ph.D., before the Joint Standing Committee on Labor of the 124th Maine State Legislature regarding L.D. 1665, “An Act to Prevent the Spread of H1N1”

 

Valuing Good Health in Maine: The Costs and Benefits of Paid Sick Days
by Kevin Miller, PhD, and Claudia Williams (January 2010)

Maine lawmakers are now considering LD 1665, which would require employers to 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 cost-benefit analysis.

 
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Testimony Before the Civil Service and Labor Committee of the New York City Council regarding Introduction 1059, the Paid Sick Time Act
by (November 2009)

The Institute has just released a report, authored by myself and IWPR analyst Claudia Williams, detailing our estimate of the costs and benefits of the paid sick days policy that the City Council of New York is currently considering. I submit our report along with my testimony. The report contains extensive detail regarding our estimate methodology and an executive summary that briefly states our findings; the report is available on the IWPR website.

 

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.

 
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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

 
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