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Kirsten Gillibrand: ‘The American workplace was already broken. This is how we rebuild it’

The Democratic senator from New York lays out her plan for how to repair the American workplace.

Kirsten Gillibrand: ‘The American workplace was already broken. This is how we rebuild it’
[Photo: Louis Hansel@shotsoflouis /Unsplash]
would raise the federal minimum wage from $7.25 an hour to $15 by 2024, benefitting workers, their families, and our economy.

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Closing the pay gap

The average woman has to work 15 months to get paid what the average man earns in one year. Every year, she falls further behind. The gap is substantially wider for women of color. It’s disgraceful that we don’t have equal pay in this country.

日本最新一本之道免费We need to value the work women do–especially when they play crucial frontline roles as nurses, pharmacists, and grocery store clerks. We need to pass the and guarantee that equal work is recognized with equal pay.

Providing universal paid sick and family leave

Right now, eight in 10 workers in our country don’t have access to paid family leave. Six in 10 don’t have access to paid medical leave. If they or a loved one get sick, they face an impossible choice between their family’s economic security and its health.

日本最新一本之道免费If essential workers can’t afford to stay home when they are sick; they become vectors for illness in our hospitals, grocery stores, and meatpacking plants. Ensuring sick people can stay home is crucial to combating this virus, and to improving our workplaces writ large. would provide universal paid family and medical leave during this crisis and establish America’s first universal policy when it’s over, fundamentally improving the way we work and live.

Making healthcare affordable and accessible

Too often, when someone loses a job, they not only lose their paycheck, they lose their health insurance. We need to decouple health insurance from employment and expand access to Medicaid and Medicare to ensure that everyone can receive affordable care. Healthcare must be a right, not a privilege.

Rewarding good work

Allowing workers across the country to form unions will help amplify their voices, but we should go a step further. The hardworking people at the heart of a company’s success should share in it. We should provide incentives for employee-owned businesses and those seeking to share profits. Business models that keep the values and interests of employees and their communities front and center should be promoted, not attacked by Wall Street’s greed. Rewarding good work also means eliminating greed as a business model and changing tax law to reward companies that work for the common good, not those that send jobs overseas.

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If we had had even two of these policies in place, someone like Tiffany might have been able to take paid time off instead of losing her job and she would have earned more while she was working to live off while she can’t. We don’t know when this crisis will end, but we know it will. When it does, we’ll all be better off if we use the time we have now to lay the foundation for a better future.

Kirsten Gillibrand is a Democratic senator from New York. She is the Senate author of the FAMILY Act, which would establish America’s first universal paid family and medical leave policy.

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