All impeachment aside, America is at a critical juncture to help all citizens regardless of party. As the economy continues it’s incredible positive run, wages and benefits should have increased. But they haven’t. The most important aspect of this next year will be legislating for our protection as employees. This can be a difficult task for any Congressional member as the majority of their political contributions derive from corporations, the same ones that need to pay up. Congress must focus on eliminating pregnancy discrimination while optimizing healthcare.
Women’s Benefits Stabilize American Business
The Pregnant Workers Fairness Act can help women find physical support, relieve taxpayer burdens and create a stable future for employers. The Pregnancy Discrimination Act of 1978 created equality while outlawing discrimination. This outdated law does not provide for pregnancy-related accommodations which include but are not limited to: frequent bathroom breaks, removal from physically strenuous jobs, allowing women to sit at their jobs, rest periods, extra eating periods/breaks and light duty. When these accommodations burden a company women are fired or quit. When a companies turnover increases so do their costs of operations. The EEOC reviewed 31,000 pregnancy-related complaints between 2010 and 2015. Companies lose profits and stability as well. The cost to hire and train employees vary but averages nearly $3,400 for a minimum wage worker to $8,000 for a $40,000 a year manager. Pregnancy discrimination doesn’t pay, it costs.
If this Congress wants to make history, it will need to force trillion-dollar companies to provide healthcare and benefits. Yep, that’s what we used to do all the way back in the Teddy Roosevelt days. Monopolistic corporations like Wal-Mart that have a mass majority of their employees still receiving state aid, need to pay up. The House of Representatives needs to force their political contributors to provide affordable healthcare and sick days.
Guidelines for Congress:
A company should split healthcare premiums with employees but it must be 5% or less a month than an employees total salary. A family living on the minimum wage in any state (since they are all still different) cannot afford $1,000 a month in premiums. Healthcare for an entire family-no more, “we only cover our employee”. The employee is a package deal. Make affordable healthcare an in-house ordinance.
Co-pays are the bread and butter of the healthcare system for citizens. Co-pays have dramatically increased over the past ten years making doctors’ visits economically impossible. Corporations and businesses must provide insurance contracts where co-pays are only 2% of the lowest employee’s salary. An employee making $12 an hour bringing home less than $400 a week should only pay $4-$8 for their co-pay. The same must be enforced for medicinal co-pays. First, generic brands must be available for any prescription written for any employee. Then if it’s not available then the corporation must pay the rest of the co-pay after the 2% is met. Fair must be fair.
Sick days and vacation days are very different. Congress needs to require that employees accrue paid sick time similar to that of Cook County, Illinois. In Cook County, an employee accrues 1 hour of paid sick time for every 40 hours they work regardless of the size of the business. That allows full-time and part-time employees the ability to use the healthcare and a day off that businesses would provide. An employer that cares about your health cares for their business. Businesses spend an average of $5500 on employee training so a day off is cheaper than retraining a new employee.
The Future Is Citizen Renewal
The suggestions will have long term positive effects on the economy. Just a scenario. An employee that had state insurance with the state providing all co-pays would now be corporate’s responsibility. That would leave a state with more money to contribute to the wheel of capitalism. A woman that could take breaks and eat while at work would be an investment for a company, not a loss. It’s time Congress gets the real work done of legislating for a better future.