New Rules Promote Family-Friendly Workplace Policies
By Colleen Ross
October 5, 2016
Protecting and promoting the rights of workers is at the heart of Catholic Social Justice. The stories of people like Kathy whose “temporary” position does not provide insurance or paid sick days and Joan who shared the story of a nurse’s aide returning to work the day after experiencing a miscarriage show the need for continued advocacy on behalf of workers. Nationally, there are about 41 million workers who lack access to paid sick days, forcing them to choose between their health and a paycheck anytime they or a family member are sick.  This is both an exceptional and unjust state of affairs; every other developed nation requires access to paid sick leave for their workers. 
Members of Congress, Labor Secretary Tom Perez, and President Obama have called for legislation to provide American workers with paid sick days for years. In a significant step last week, the Obama Administration finalized a rule that requires businesses doing work on federal contracts to allow their employees to earn up to seven paid sick days a year beginning January 1, 2017. This rule could affect up to 600,000 people nationwide, and sets a strong precedent for businesses to follow.
In a related move last week, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) published its final revisions to the EEO-1 form that will be used to collect data to prevent pay discrimination in workplaces. Though we have made progress as a nation in decreasing wage discrimination based on gender, race, or ethnicity, pay gaps still exist. As Pope Francis said “Why is it taken for granted that women should earn less than men? No! They have the same rights. This disparity is an absolute disgrace!”  NETWORK supports both the EEOC and the Labor Department in these steps towards realizing more just and equal conditions for all workers.
General Audience, April 29, 2015 https://w2.vatican.va/content/francesco/en/audiences/2015/documents/papa-francesco_20150429_udienza-generale.html