Wednesday, October 29, 2008

The Pregnancy Penalty

The Pregnancy Discrimination Act was passed in 1978 -- 30 years ago this month. Things are better, but women of all ages are still paying a price in the workforce for having children. Reduced wages and reduced pensions.

AAUW - 30th Anniversary of the Passage of the Pregnancy Discrimination Act: "While men can typically encounter a job boost from fatherhood, women often hit the 'maternal wall,' according to experts who study the issue. While more than 80 percent of American women become mothers during their working lives, studies show there is a 'motherhood penalty' on wages of approximately 5 percent for every child a woman has. 1These pay inequities find their way into women's golden years, not only in the form of fewer funds to save during their working years but also in smaller pensions in retirement.

On Capitol Hill, AAUW is fighting for family-friendly legislation that would help fulfill the promise of the Pregnancy Discrimination Act. 'Unfortunately, AT&T is basing part of its arguments in the Hulteen case on the Ledbetter decision, so women are already reaping what the Supreme Court has sown with that wrongheaded decision,' said Maatz. 'In these tough economic times, there should be an even better incentive not only to enforce the Pregnancy Discrimination Act properly and vigorously but also to pass the Ledbetter Fair Pay Act.'"

Here's a bit about the Hulteen case:

AAUW is closely watching AT&T v. Hulteen, a case before the Supreme Court involving the Pregnancy Discrimination Act. The high court will decide whether women who took pregnancy leave before the passage of the Pregnancy Discrimination Act should get full service credit for their time on leave when calculating their retirement benefits. AAUW has signed on to an amicus brief in the Hulteen case on behalf of the women, arguing against discriminatory practices that treat pregnancy leave less favorably than leave for other disabilities when calculating such benefits.

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1 comment:

  1. I received the following email in response to this post:

    Good Morning:

    I just read your web page this morning on The Pregnancy Penalty and saw a link to a story ABC News did on maternal profiling. ABC picked up the story after reading an article the Allentown Morning Call newspaper did on me and my battle for the last 14 years to get a law passed to prohibit employers from asking job candidates about their marital/familial status during job interviews. I have cut and pasted the story below here for your review. The bills I have tried to get passed died again this legislative session. I do not think I have the strength, energy, time or money to try again for year 15.

    Kiki Peppard

    I replied to Kiki with some questions -- she'll get back to me next week. At that time I'll post some more info.