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Michelle Noehren's picture

Re-posted from Working Mother Magazine's Blog (see link at bottom)

National Pay Equity Day will be held on April 20, 2010.

While paid sick days are important for all workers, this benefit is even more important to working women and working mothers who typically are the main caregivers of their families while also being most deeply affected by pay inequity. Currently, women in the United States typically make only 80 cents for every dollar a man earns. In Connecticut, that number is even lower at 76 cents.

Earning 20 to 30 cents less for every dollar a man makes may not seem like much but over the long term for most working women, the loss of 20 cents out of every dollar snowballs into a loss of $1.2 to $2 million dollars over a lifetime.  The Wage Project estimates that over 47 years of full-time work, the wage gap creates staggering losses: $700,000 for a high school graduate, $1.2 million for a college graduate and $2 million for a professional school graduate.

And here’s the double whammy: the wag gap affects working mothers more severely than it does working women with no children. One research study shows that at the time of hire, working mothers are offered, on average, an astounding $11,000 less than similarly qualified women without children. In addition, some employers still believe that working mothers are somehow less committed to their jobs and so working mothers are often passed over for promotions and raises. This “motherhood penalty” has long-term ramifications for working mothers’ financial success.

You may be wondering how this relates to the need for paid sick leave. If a working mother needs to take time off to care for her sick child or elderly parent and does not have paid sick leave, she may be jeopardizing her economic well-being. This scenario is even more upsetting if you consider that all working women, but especially working mothers, are already financially disadvantaged from the lack of pay equity. Working mothers rely on their paychecks perhaps even more so than working women without children do, and missing even one day of work to care for a sick child can greatly undermine a working mother’s financial stability.

Advocates in Connecticut have been pushing hard to pass legislation that would require businesses with 50 or more employees to provide a minimum standard of paid sick time to their employees. We at the Permanent Commission on the Status of Womenwholeheartedly agree with folks like Wanda Cobbs, a Connecticut resident and school bus driver, who spoke out recently in support of Connecticut’s paid sick leave legislation. Cobbs, who lacks paid sick days and is a working mother, said, "Nobody should have to go to work sick and nobody should have to choose between their kids, their job, and the people they serve."

Michelle Noehren is the Legislative Liaison and Events Coordinator for the Connecticut General Assembly’s Permanent Commission on the Status of Women. Pay Equity Day will be held on April 20, 2010. For information about the Permanent Commission on the Status of Women’s activities in commemoration of the day please

For more information about the fight for paid sick days in Connecticut visit:

Click here for original blog posting at Working Mother Magazine:

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