Mathilde Roux http://blog.dol.gov/ en 5 ways employers can make workplaces more menstruation-friendly http://blog.dol.gov/2024/05/29/5-ways-employers-can-make-workplaces-more-menstruation-friendly <span class="field field--name-title field--type-string field--label-hidden">5 ways employers can make workplaces more menstruation-friendly</span> <div class="clearfix text-formatted field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field__item"><p class="MsoNormal" style="tab-stops:302.95pt;"><img src="/sites/default/files/inline-images/AsianWomanCoffee.jpg" data-entity-uuid="4294a695-1f7b-47e8-8006-e92696ecb00a" data-entity-type="file" alt="An Asian woman with platinum blond hair holding a cup of coffee wearing a black t-shirt and an apron." width="379" class="align-right" height="550" loading="lazy" />To commemorate this Menstrual Hygiene Day, the Women’s Bureau is breaking down the stereotypes and stigmas that have made menstruation a taboo topic in the workplace. Menstruation is a natural part of half our population’s life, and yet it has been overlooked in the context of work - perhaps because it is seen as a personal issue or uncomfortable to discuss. The taboo nature of menstruation has likely contributed to the lack of understanding about its impact on workers, which can include challenges related to <a href="https://www.womenshealth.gov/menstrual-cycle/premenstrual-syndrome">symptoms of premenstrual syndrome</a>; <a href="https://www.womenshealth.gov/menstrual-cycle/period-problems">unexpected or heavy bleeding; and pain from cramps, headaches or migraines</a> while at work. </p><p></p><p class="MsoNormal">Implementing workplace policies that address menstruation can enable menstruating employees to continue to fully participate in and contribute to the workforce while mitigating adverse effects to their mental and physical health. Most employers are already ensuring <a href="https://www.osha.gov/restrooms-sanitation">easy access to bathrooms</a> and providing <a href="https://www.ecfr.gov/current/title-29/section-1910.141">proper handwashing facilities</a> and <a href="https://www.ecfr.gov/current/title-29/section-785.18">regular breaks during work hours</a>. And menstruating employees may be protected under laws and regulations against discrimination on the basis of <a href="https://www.eeoc.gov/age-discrimination">age</a>, <a href="https://www.eeoc.gov/sex-based-discrimination">sex</a> and <a href="https://www.eeoc.gov/eeoc-disability-related-resources">disability</a> (or a <a href="https://doi.org/10.36641/mjgl.30.1.title">combination of these characteristics</a>), the federal <a href="https://www.dol.gov/agencies/whd/fact-sheets/28p-taking-leave-when-you-or-family-has-health-condition">Family and Medical Leave Act</a>, <a href="https://www.dol.gov/agencies/whd/government-contracts/sick-leave">sick leave requirements for federal contractors</a> and <a href="https://www.dol.gov/agencies/wb/paid-leave/State-Paid-Family-Medical-Leave-Laws">state paid family and medical leave</a> or <a href="https://www.abetterbalance.org/paid-sick-time-laws/">sick leave</a> laws. But there is more that employers can do to support menstruators. </p><p></p><p class="MsoNormal">Here are five more ways employers can make workplaces more menstruation-friendly:</p><p></p><ol><li>Provide a sufficient supply of varied period products in bathrooms and ensure menstruators can access products privately.<p></p></li><li>Allow flexibility in uniforms, with options in dark colors to ensure menstruators do not need to worry that an unexpected period or heavier flow will lead to noticeable stains.<p></p></li><li>Allow scheduling and work flexibilities such as telework, flexible work hours or shift modifications.<p></p></li><li>Guarantee access to paid sick leave, provide explicit guidance that menstruation is a qualifying condition for the leave – whether for symptom management or for related medical appointments – and ensure that employees and their managers are aware these are allowable reasons to use sick leave.<p></p></li><li>Educate and train workers and managers about the symptoms of menstruation and how they can impact employees at work and include support services for menstruation in any Employee Assistance Program offered.<p></p></li></ol><p class="MsoNormal">Many of the same policies and protocols needed to support those managing symptoms of menstruation are already being implemented by many employers. Employers can make small adjustments to worker protections, flexibilities and accommodations to ensure that workplaces are more inclusive of menstruating employees, reduce the stigma surrounding menstruation and improve menstruators’ quality of life at work. Making workers aware that they may use a workplace flexibility for menstruation-related reasons can help create an environment in which workers and managers are more comfortable discussing these topics and requesting the help they need.</p><p></p><p class="MsoNormal">Menstruation does not have to be taboo. Employees who feel supported can continue to thrive in the workplace during their periods. By providing basic protections and accommodations, employers can signal a commitment to ensuring all workers maintain the dignity they deserve. </p><p></p><p></p><p class="MsoNormal">Eleanor Delamater and Mathilde Roux are Policy Analysts at the Women’s Bureau.</p><p></p></div> <span class="field field--name-uid field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden"><span lang="" about="/user/1334" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="" content="Holloway.Lorynn.N@dol.gov">Holloway.Loryn…</span></span> <span class="field field--name-created field--type-created field--label-hidden"><time datetime="2024-05-29T08:55:26-04:00" title="Wednesday, May 29, 2024 - 08:55" class="datetime">Wed, 05/29/2024 - 08:55</time> </span> <div class="field field--name-field-blog-featured-image field--type-image field--label-hidden field__item"> <img loading="lazy" src="/sites/default/files/AsianWomanCoffee.jpg" width="800" height="550" alt="An Asian woman with platinum blond hair holding a cup of coffee wearing a black t-shirt and an apron." typeof="foaf:Image" /> </div> <a href="/taxonomy/term/4152" hreflang="en">Eleanor Delamater</a>, <a href="/taxonomy/term/4162" hreflang="en">Mathilde Roux</a> <div class="blog-tags"> <span>Tags:</span> <ul> <li><a href="/tag/womens-bureau" hreflang="en">Women&#039;s Bureau</a></li> <li><a href="/tag/working-families" hreflang="en">working families</a></li> </ul> </div> Wed, 29 May 2024 12:55:26 +0000 Holloway.Lorynn.N@dol.gov 4804 at http://blog.dol.gov 5 Takeaways from Listening Sessions with Doulas http://blog.dol.gov/2023/05/16/5-takeaways-from-listening-sessions-with-doulas <span class="field field--name-title field--type-string field--label-hidden">5 Takeaways from Listening Sessions with Doulas</span> <div class="clearfix text-formatted field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field__item"><center><p><iframe width="334" height="594" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/4jtn8HYtMGc" title="" frameborder="0" allow="accelerometer; autoplay; clipboard-write; encrypted-media; gyroscope; picture-in-picture; web-share" allowfullscreen=""></iframe></p></center><p>The <a href="https://www.whitehouse.gov/wp-content/uploads/2022/06/Maternal-Health-Blueprint.pdf">White House Blueprint for Addressing the Maternal Health Crisis</a> identifies doulas as a critical segment of the maternal care workforce, providing vital support that improves maternal health outcomes. Doulas are nonclinical birth workers trained to provide continuous physical, emotional and informational support to a client before, during and after giving birth. Unlike licensed midwives, doulas do not provide clinical support, but instead serve as guides, advocates and emotional support for clients as they navigate the maternal health system.</p><p>However, workforce challenges, including insufficient reimbursement rates, unpredictable schedules and too few pathways to community-based training and certification, have contributed to a doula workforce that is small and insufficiently diverse. To address these workforce challenges and increase the size and diversity of the doula workforce, <a href="https://healthlaw.org/doulamedicaidproject/">10 states and the District of Columbia have expanded Medicaid reimbursement to cover doula services</a>, with each program structured slightly differently and with a different maximum reimbursement amount.</p><p>In February 2023, the Department of Labor’s Women’s Bureau conducted <a href="https://www.dol.gov/agencies/wb/pregnant-nursing-employment-protections">two listening sessions with doulas and doula servicing organizations</a>. The listening sessions took place in Birmingham, Alabama (a state that does not require health insurance coverage for doulas) and Providence, Rhode Island (a state that requires both Medicaid and private insurance coverage for doulas). <a href="https://www.dol.gov/general/good-jobs/principles">The listening sessions identified job quality gaps</a>, specifically with respect to state-by-state variations in insurance reimbursement.</p><p>Doulas who participated in the listening sessions told us about their passion for the work they do, and the challenges to remaining in the profession. Here are five takeaways from our conversations:</p><p><strong>Being a doula is rewarding, hard work. </strong></p><p>The work of a doula is intense and personal. It is also unpredictable. Doulas are on-call for clients’ births or to provide support as needed by text, phone and email. They miss birthday parties and holiday celebrations to be with clients. The demands of running a business, the intense and unpredictable schedule, and the need to take on other work for additional income cause many doulas to experience burnout and financial instability.</p><p><strong>Being a doula is often not financially sustainable. </strong></p><p>Doulas can only serve a few clients each month in order to provide high-intensity care and be available for births. Many doulas work multiple jobs to make ends meet. Any additional work they take on must be flexible enough to accommodate their doula work, which often means it comes with lower pay and fewer benefits than less flexible full-time or part-time work.</p><p><strong>Requiring more training is not necessarily the solution. </strong></p><p>Classroom training and formal certifications can provide important skills and knowledge, but they cannot replace hands-on experience. Training can also be expensive and time-consuming and some training and certification providers may not meet the needs of more diverse populations (including Black and queer doulas). Therefore, requiring specific trainings or only recognizing a limited set of certification providers can create barriers for individuals seeking to enter the field. Community-based and doula-led trainings, and particularly training by and for doulas of color, are effective strategies to build a more diverse workforce while ensuring that the training meets the needs of the community.</p><p><strong>If designed thoughtfully, insurance reimbursement can improve doulas’ job quality. </strong></p><p>A higher health insurance reimbursement rate with a flexible structure could help with schedule and pay challenges by more adequately compensating doulas for the work they do and by providing resources to enable them to hire employees to assist with administrative work, such as marketing and processing claims. Requiring a specific training or certification for participation in Medicaid and private insurance reimbursement creates additional barriers for doulas. To ensure that increased access to insurance reimbursement helps build a more diverse workforce, policymakers should be mindful of barriers to participation and work to reduce them.</p><p><strong>There are challenges that can’t be solved through insurance reimbursement alone. </strong></p><p>Insurance reimbursement cannot address every job quality gap identified by doulas. Other challenges that should be considered include access to childcare and trauma-informed mental health supports, and improving experiences with hospital and clinical staff.</p><p>Addressing these issues could help expand and diversify the nation’s doula workforce – leading to better quality of life for these essential workers and better support for America’s working families.</p><p><a href="https://www.dol.gov/agencies/wb/pregnant-nursing-employment-protections">Read the full Issue Brief.</a></p><p><em>Mathilde Roux is a policy analyst in the department's Women's Bureau. Follow the bureau on Twitter </em><a href="https://www.twitter.com/WB_DOL"><em>@WB_DOL</em></a></p><p> </p><p><em>EDITORS NOTE: The first paragraph of this blog has been edited to replace gendered references with more inclusive language.</em></p></div> <span class="field field--name-uid field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden"><span lang="" about="/users/lmcginnis" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="" content="McGinnis.Laura.K@dol.gov">McGinnis.Laura…</span></span> <span class="field field--name-created field--type-created field--label-hidden"><time datetime="2023-05-16T12:47:31-04:00" title="Tuesday, May 16, 2023 - 12:47" class="datetime">Tue, 05/16/2023 - 12:47</time> </span> <div class="field field--name-field-blog-featured-image field--type-image field--label-hidden field__item"> <img loading="lazy" src="/sites/default/files/230504-doula_featured.png" width="500" height="360" alt="A doula consults with a pregnant woman, placing a hand on her stomach." typeof="foaf:Image" /> </div> <a href="/taxonomy/term/4162" hreflang="en">Mathilde Roux</a> <div class="blog-tags"> <span>Tags:</span> <ul> <li><a href="/tag/working-women" hreflang="en">working women</a></li> <li><a href="/tag/pregnant-workers" hreflang="en">pregnant workers</a></li> <li><a href="/tag/womens-bureau" hreflang="en">Women&#039;s Bureau</a></li> <li><a href="/taxonomy/term/4273" hreflang="en">maternal health</a></li> <li><a href="/taxonomy/term/4616" hreflang="en">doulas</a></li> </ul> </div> Tue, 16 May 2023 16:47:31 +0000 McGinnis.Laura.K@dol.gov 4537 at http://blog.dol.gov http://blog.dol.gov/2023/05/16/5-takeaways-from-listening-sessions-with-doulas#comments 5 Facts About Black Women in the Labor Force http://blog.dol.gov/2021/08/03/5-facts-about-black-women-in-the-labor-force <span class="field field--name-title field--type-string field--label-hidden">5 Facts About Black Women in the Labor Force</span> <div class="clearfix text-formatted field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field__item"><p class="paragraph">Black women are an integral part of the American labor force but have long faced a pay gap due to longstanding inequities in education and the labor market. In addition, they have been disproportionately impacted by the pandemic. Black women workers are overrepresented in <a href="https://www.stlouisfed.org/open-vault/2020/october/how-covid19-pandemic-has-affected-labor-market">low-paying service sector jobs, which were among the hardest hit, in terms of job losses</a>.</p><p>Aug. 3, 2021, marks Black Women’s Equal Pay Day, a symbolic representation of the number of additional days Black women working full-time, year-round, must work, on average, to earn what white, non-Hispanic men earned the year before.</p><p>Here are five facts about Black women in the labor force:</p><h4>1. Black women earn 63 cents for every dollar earned by white, non-Hispanic men</h4><p>Black women’s earnings are 63.0% of white, non-Hispanic men’s earnings – the third-widest gap after Native women (60%) and Hispanic women (55.4%). In comparison, white, non-Hispanic women earn 78.7% of white, non-Hispanic men’s earnings, and Asian women earn 87.1%.</p><img src="/sites/default/files/inline-images/bwpg-v6-1.png" data-entity-uuid="f7f72b9d-4c62-483d-ae0e-6f64d2a9eef5" data-entity-type="file" alt="Black women’s earnings are 63.0% of white, non-Hispanic men’s earnings – the third-widest gap after Native women (60%) and Hispanic women (55.4%). In comparison, white, non-Hispanic women earn 78.7% of white, non-Hispanic men’s earnings, and Asian women earn 87.1%. " class="align-center" width="800" height="533" loading="lazy" /><h4>2. This wage gap is not just driven by educational differences</h4><p>Even controlling for education, Black women still earn less than their white male counterparts. Among those with a bachelor’s degree, Black women only earn 65% of what comparable white men do, for instance. And among people with advanced degrees, Black women earn 70% of what white men do. In fact, Black women with advanced degrees have median weekly earnings less than white men with only a bachelor’s degree.</p><img src="/sites/default/files/inline-images/bwpg-v5-2.png" data-entity-uuid="a3e74efc-11b2-4155-a3bc-9d1472c23516" data-entity-type="file" alt="Chart title: “Even Controlling for Education, Black Women are Earning Less than White Men.” The chart shows the amount Black women earn for each dollar earned by non-Hispanic white men with the same educational attainment. Less than a high school diploma: 76.3%. High school graduate, no college: 68.0%. Some college or associate degree: 66.5%. Bachelor’s degree only: 65.4%. Advanced degree: 69.8%. Source: Current Population Survey 2020 Annual Averages." class="align-center" width="800" height="533" loading="lazy" /><h4>3. Black women have the highest labor force participation rate of all women</h4><p>Typically, Black women have higher labor force participation rates than other women, meaning a higher share of Black women are either employed or unemployed and looking for work. For instance, in 2019, Black women's labor force participation rate was 60.5% compared with 56.8% for white women. Even in 2020, in the midst of the pandemic, their labor force participation rate was 58.8%, compared to 56.2% for women overall.</p><img src="/sites/default/files/inline-images/bwpg-v2-3.png" data-entity-uuid="2ee19ad8-71c3-4985-b7fd-08f76c9666f6" data-entity-type="file" alt="Chart title: “Compared with Other Women, Black Women have the Highest Labor Force Participation Rate.” The chart shows the labor force participation rate for women by demographic group. White: 55.7%. Black: 58.8%. Hispanic: 56.4%. All other groups: 56.8%. Total: 56.2%. Source: Current Population Survey 2020 Annual Averages." class="align-center" width="800" height="533" loading="lazy" /><h4>4. Black women have also experienced high unemployment, especially in the wake of the pandemic</h4><p>In 2020, Black women’s unemployment rate was 10.9%, compared to 7.6% for white women and 8.3% for all women. This is no doubt reflective of the <a href="https://blog.dol.gov/2021/02/09/a-more-inclusive-economy-is-key-to-recovery">steep job losses and slow job recovery experienced by this group since early 2020</a>, though even prior to the pandemic, <a href="https://www.bls.gov/opub/reports/race-and-ethnicity/2019/home.htm">their unemployment was relatively high (5.6%)</a> compared with white (3.2%), Asian (2.7%) and Hispanic (4.7%) women.</p><h4>5. Black moms, too, have relatively high labor force participation rates</h4><p>Black mothers – <a href="https://www.dol.gov/agencies/wb/data/mothers-and-families">two-thirds of whom are equal, primary or sole earners</a> in their households – have higher labor force participation rates than other moms. This has historically been the case, and 2020 was no exception: 76.0% were in the labor force, compared with 71.3% of white moms, 62.8% of Hispanic moms and 64.3% of Asian moms.</p><img src="/sites/default/files/inline-images/bwpg-v2-4.png" data-entity-uuid="c4862948-87c3-484c-8fff-3e4dbaefbddf" data-entity-type="file" alt="Chart title: “Labor Force Participation Rates are Highest for Black Moms” The chart shows the labor force participation rate of mothers with children younger than 18 by demographic group. Black: 76.0%. White: 71.3%. Hispanic: 62.8%. Asian: 64.3%. Source: Current Population Survey 2020 Annual Averages." class="align-center" width="800" height="533" loading="lazy" /><p><em>Mathilde Roux is a Presidential Management Fellow in the department's Women's Bureau. Follow the bureau on Twitter </em><a href="https://www.twitter.com/WB_DOL"><em>@WB_DOL</em></a><em>.</em></p></div> <span class="field field--name-uid field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden"><span lang="" about="/users/tkoebel" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="" content="Koebel.Tiffany.L@dol.gov">Koebel.Tiffany…</span></span> <span class="field field--name-created field--type-created field--label-hidden"><time datetime="2021-08-03T08:17:00-04:00" title="Tuesday, August 3, 2021 - 08:17" class="datetime">Tue, 08/03/2021 - 08:17</time> </span> <div class="field field--name-field-blog-featured-image field--type-image field--label-hidden field__item"> <img loading="lazy" src="/sites/default/files/BWEPDblog_480x360.png" width="480" height="360" alt="A chart shows the amount Black women earn for each dollar earned by non-Hispanic white men with the same educational attainment. " typeof="foaf:Image" /> </div> <a href="/taxonomy/term/4162" hreflang="en">Mathilde Roux</a> <div class="blog-tags"> <span>Tags:</span> <ul> <li><a href="/tag/womens-bureau" hreflang="en">Women&#039;s Bureau</a></li> <li><a href="/tag/black-women" hreflang="en">black women</a></li> <li><a href="/tag/equal-pay-day" hreflang="en">Equal Pay Day</a></li> <li><a href="/tag/labor-force-participation" hreflang="en">Labor force participation</a></li> <li><a href="/tag/working-mothers" hreflang="en">working mothers</a></li> <li><a href="/tag/women" hreflang="en">women</a></li> <li><a href="/tag/equal-pay" hreflang="en">equal pay</a></li> <li><a href="/tag/wage-gap" hreflang="en">Wage Gap</a></li> </ul> </div> Tue, 03 Aug 2021 12:17:00 +0000 Koebel.Tiffany.L@dol.gov 3890 at http://blog.dol.gov http://blog.dol.gov/2021/08/03/5-facts-about-black-women-in-the-labor-force#comments