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"Women in the Workforce"

Posted on September 26, 2012 at 10:47 AM EDT

Speaking to more than 120 people at a Beverly, Mass., forum, Secretary Solis said that part of her job focuses on the gender pay gap. "It's been about 40 years since the Equal Pay Act, but women are still finding it hard to get equal pay," she said. Solis spoke at a "Women in the Workforce" forum on Aug. 29 held at the Cummings Center, a former shoe factory. "A lot of women work in jobs for minimum wage," she noted. "I think about women workers who have to take care of their families, their children, and we need to make sure that after their years of hard work they have pensions in place."

New Survey on Employer Leave Policies

Posted on September 26, 2012 at 10:39 AM EDT

"Too often, many workers, particularly those who are struggling to make ends meet, have to choose between taking time off to care for a sick child or losing desperately needed wages," Secretary Solis said in a statement on August 16 after the release of a survey on access to and use of leave by employees. According to the survey, among single jobholders, 83 percent of full-time workers in the highest earnings range had access to paid leave, compared with 50 percent of full-time workers in the lowest earnings range. The research was sponsored by the Women's Bureau and conducted by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The survey is part of a Women's Bureau workplace flexibility initiative, which kicked off in March 2010 at a White House forum, and includes nationwide education and outreach efforts to bring together employees, employers, advocates, researchers and others. As part of the dialogue on improving workplace policies that promote fairness and flexibility, the research and advocacy community pointed to the need for more data on employee access to and use of paid and unpaid leave. "We are looking forward to engaging in an in-depth analysis of the survey results," Solis said.

Read the Secretary's Statement
Read the BLS News Release

Spreading the Jobs Message in Nevada

Posted on September 26, 2012 at 10:31 AM EDT

Jobs, education and training for workers in Nevada, across the country and specifically, women were the themes of two separate conversations Secretary Solis held August 9 in Las Vegas, Nevada. She outlined the department's efforts to strengthen the nation's economy during remarks to local community leaders at Andre Agassi College Preparatory Academy, emphasizing the importance of education and training in rebuilding the manufacturing industry in the United States. "In order for us to be competitive, we need to have more highly-skilled and trained individuals with credentials and licenses," she said. Later, Solis addressed a crowd of more than 100 participating in the Women's Bureau's Working Women Forum. The event, held at the College of Southern Nevada, explored workplace rights, work-family balance and emerging opportunities for female workers. Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational Safety and Health Dr. David Michaels joined Solis on the program, and discussed OSHA's commitment to ensuring safe and healthful workplaces.

View the Slideshow

Baton Rouge Forum

Posted on September 26, 2012 at 10:21 AM EDT

About 100 employers, advocacy groups and community-based organizations attended the department's free informational and outreach forum at the Baton Rouge Community College on August 2. Regional administrators and program specialists from the Employee Benefits Security Administration, Wage and Hour Division, Occupational Safety and Health Administration, Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs, Veterans' Employment and Training Service and the Women's Bureau answered questions and concerns. Workshops covered fair labor standards, wages, health benefits, job safety, pension protection, record keeping, affirmative action, veterans' re-employment and women's rights.

Ideas for Growing Green

Posted on September 26, 2012 at 10:16 AM EDT

A number of ideas to promote sustainable green jobs for women were generated during a recent "Women in Sustainable Careers" roundtable hosted by the Women's Bureau and the Greenfield Community College Office of Workforce Development in Greenfield, Mass. Some of the ideas at the roundtable included creation of a "Green Career Mentor List" and a "Green Career Job Shadow List," encouragement of young people to create their own college majors to encompass green content, and organizing a list of women in sustainable careers to speak to high school science classes. A follow-up session is scheduled for September 6.

Read the Guide

Outreach in Philadelphia

Posted on September 26, 2012 at 10:07 AM EDT

The Women's Bureau in Philadelphia recently joined Boat People SOS, a national Vietnamese-American community organization serving the Southeast Asian immigrant population, to present information on equal pay and green jobs. Approximately 50 Vietnamese, Chinese and Filipino students participating in the Summer Youth Career Exploration Program, a program to expose Asian American and immigrant youth to professional career experiences and possibilities, participated in the event.

Closing the Savings Gap

Posted on September 26, 2012 at 9:56 AM EDT

Studies show that for a variety of reasons women are less prepared for retirement than men. But nearly 100 working and retired women gathered at the University of Illinois-Chicago on July 28 to learn what resources the federal government has available to help them close that gap. Hosted by Assistant Secretary of Labor Phyllis C. Borzi, the Employee Benefits Security Administration forum provided advice on overcoming savings challenges, increasing contributions to retirement accounts and what to guard against when seeking investment advice. Senior officials from the Social Security Administration and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau also took part in the discussion, instructing women on when and how to claim Social Security benefits, and how to avoid becoming a victim of financial abuse. Video of the forum will be available soon on the EBSA website.

View the Slideshow
Learn More About Women & Retirement Savings

Supporting our Heroes

Posted on September 26, 2012 at 9:48 AM EDT

Hiring discrimination against disabled veterans, especially women veterans, is unacceptable, Patricia Shiu, director of the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs said at a town hall meeting held at Rutgers University. In her keynote remarks, Shiu urged federal contractors and employers to assist OFCCP in creating a better plan to hire disabled veterans. "Change doesn't happen in a moment, but in a movement. We cannot do it alone," said Shiu. Representatives from more than 75 veterans and community organizations, federal contractors, and representatives of the Veterans' Employment and Training Service, Women's Bureau and OFCCP attended the "Supporting Our Heroes" event in Brunswick, N.J. Held at Rutgers' John J. Heldrich Center for Workforce Development on July 31, the event aimed to connect women veterans looking for work with federal contractors committed to hiring veterans. Attendees celebrated the successes of women veterans and focused on efforts that still need to be made in achieving equality for them in the workplace.

View the Slideshow

Ending Violence Against Women

Posted on September 26, 2012 at 9:33 AM EDT

The department is dedicated to combating violence against women and increasing public awareness about abuse by educating employers and workers across the country on strategies to prevent and reduce workplace violence. On Sept.13, Secretary Solis marked the 18th anniversary of passage of the landmark Violence Against Women Act, pledging to redouble "our commitment to a zero tolerance policy against this heinous crime and our efforts to help victims rebuild their lives."

Read the Secretary's Statement

Assessing Leave Benefits

Posted on September 26, 2012 at 9:25 AM EDT

At a conference on Sept. 10, organized by the Institute for Women's Policy Research and the Work-Family Strategy Council, Chief Economist Adriana Kugler discussed data related to unpaid and paid family leave. She explained the advantages, potential limitations and key findings from the newly released Leave Module of the American Time Use Survey; the 1995, 2000, and 2012 Family Medical Leave Surveys, and the National Compensation Surveys. The surveys show that average coverage is high but that lower paid and part-time workers, those employed by smaller employers and those in service occupations have much lower coverage. The surveys also show that while coverage is high, use of leave benefits is much lower and that there are many with unmet need for leave.

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