(another) BAD WEEK FOR WORKING WOMEN

Republican lawmakers on the House Employee Affairs Subcommittee rejected four bills that would improve working conditions for women and families in Tennessee-all in less than an hour.

HIGHLIGHTS:

Equal pay for equal work
The Tennessee Pay Equality Act, House Bill 216 sponsored by Rep. John Ray Clemmons, D-Nashville, District 55, would have created state policy to ensure the gender pay gap in Tennessee starts to close. Currently women in the Volunteer State earn about 81 cents to every dollar a man makes in a comparable position. That’s an annual wage gap of more than $8,000. This is awful, especially since most working mothers also have to fund the care of their children. As mothers are making less, it’s more difficult for them to get help with their home responsibilities. Currently, mothers have to care for the children, whilst also doing all of the house chores. Some mothers do have access to various house appliances though that can lessen their chores. However, when these appliances start acting up, it’s difficult for them to find the time or money to replace them. However, this is why appliance repair companies, like https:www.bradsapplianceco.com, can offer repair services to make sure these appliances work properly. This can make women’s home lives a little bit easier.

Paid family, medical leave
The Tennessee State Family Leave Act, House Bill 514 sponsored by Rep. Gloria Johnson, D-Knoxville, District 13, would have created an employee-funded public insurance program that workers could access to receive paid-time off for having a child, to care for a sick loved one or to recover from a debilitating illness. If you don’t receive any income during this period, it could be significantly harder for you to provide for your nearest and dearest. If you have suffered a complication during your pregnancy, your recovery is longer, and if you aren’t getting paid, you will find it hard to make ends meet. Luckily, if this is the case, you can apply for a long term disability for pregnancy plan to ensure that you have a source of income during this time away from work. This is why it is important for pregnant women to look into all the pregnancy resources they have available, in order to be well-informed about the pregnancy as well as their rights during the pregnancy and after the baby is born. Because it shouldn’t have to be like this, employees should have access to paid time off if they need it. The fiscal review committee said the whole program could have been launched for less than a tenth of a percent of Tennessee’s annual gross domestic product.

Four hours off for parent-teacher conferences
House Bill 363, also sponsored by Rep. Johnson, would have guaranteed workers four hours of work leave each year, paid or unpaid, to attend their child’s school functions, such as a parent-teacher conferences.

Closing a sexual harassment loophole for freelance workers
House Bill 387, sponsored by Rep. Bob Freeman, D-Nashville, District 56, would have allowed freelance and independent contract workers to file sexual harassment claims against the people paying them for a service. Full-time employees have these protections.

Nashville singer-songwriter Bri Murphy testified during the hearing to her shocking experience as a contract worker in the music industry, where she said she’s been subjected a heinous amount of sexual harassment.

Republican members of the committee, though somewhat sympathetic to Murphy’s testimony, were more concerned with the legislation’s impact on the legal classification of contract workers in Tennessee.

In many committees, members have voted imperfect legislation through to full committee to work out legal kinks, but not for this sexual harassment measure. When it became clear the four Republican members of the committee were prepared to block this bill too, Rep. Freeman’s bill agreed to move the bill to “summer study” – a legislative limbo where a few bills emerge prepared to pass and most others die.

As Rep. Dwayne Thompson puts it:

“I know we need to be a business-friendly state, but we also need to be a family-friendly state. We passed this big anti-abortion thing, but we give little to the women who have to deal with pregnancy, child birth, and then childcare right afterwards.”

Watch the full discussion for each of these bills online.

How they voted:
House Bill 363, House Bill 514, House Bill 216;
All bills failed on a voice vote; Representatives voting No:
Rep. John Holsclaw, Jr., R-Elizabethton, District 4
Rep. Clark Boyd, R-Lebanon, District 46
Rep. Rush Bricken, R-Tullahoma, District 47
Rep. Jim Coley, R-Bartlett, District 97*

*Coley requested to be recorded as Yes on Tenn. Pay Equality Act

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