Sacramento, CA — With California families depending on women’s income more than ever before, the Democratic members of the California Legislative Women’s Caucus this week announced a package of legislation and budget actions to advance the economic lives of women and, in turn, the economic stability of the state.
The “A Stronger California: Securing Economic Opportunity for All Women,” package centers around what the caucus refers to as the four central pillars: Equal pay and job opportunities, access to childcare, family friendly workplaces and building economic security by addressing poverty.
“Women are increasing their role in, and impact on, our economy. It is vital we pursue policies that help ensure opportunity and equality,” said Assembly Speaker Toni Atkins.
The caucus notes that women make up almost half of the state’s workforce, yet lose $33 billion in income each year to unequal pay and equal two-thirds of low wage earners. Additionally, single mothers spend 44% of their income on childcare.
Here is the Caucus’ proposed priority legislation and budget actions:
Equal Pay and Job Opportunities
- California Fair Pay Act – SB 358 (Senator Jackson)
California women working full time make an average of only 84 cents to every dollar earned by men, and women of color, especially Latinas, face an even higher wage gap (44 cents to every dollar). This bill will help to ensure that women are paid equally when they do the same work as men, and protect workers from retaliation when they inquire or speak out about wage differences at work.
Access to Childcare
- Child Care Budget Request – Legislative Women’s Caucus
The Legislative Women’s Caucus requests an investment of no less than $600 million to be dedicated to the child care system. This investment should be evenly distributed betweenmodernizing rates and increasing slots.
- Raising Child Care Quality and Accessibility Act – SB 548 (Senator de León and Assemblymember Atkins)
This bill would establish the right of child care workers to collectively bargain, support additional training for child care providers and create new child care slots to help close the gap between children who need child care and those who have it.
Family Friendly Workplace
- Fair Scheduling Act – AB 357 (Assemblymembers Chiu and Weber)
Many workers have little advance notice of when they will be required to work, making things like planning for child care nearly impossible. Forty-seven percent of hourly workers know their schedules one week or less in advance, and 69 percent of working mothers experienced fluctuations in their hours in the prior month by an average of 40 percent. This bill will ensure family and financial stability for a vast segment of California’s workforce – those employed by food and general retail establishments with more than 500 employees – by granting these workers the right to work schedule predictability and requiring employers to accommodate employee requests for unpaid time off to attend to any required appointments at the county human services agency.
Building Economic Stability by Addressing Poverty
- Repeal CalWORKs Maximum Family Grant – SB 23 (Senator Mitchell)
This bill would repeal existing state law that denies infants and children $128 in basic needs assistance if the child was conceived and born while a family member was receiving aid unless the parent discloses and can prove that the child was conceived accidentally as a result of failed sterilization, failed intrauterine device or a rape. Repealing the MFG rule doesn’t only make the program more just – it also is estimated to reduce childhood poverty rates by 7.4 percent.