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Survey: Bridging Gap in Women's Benefits Key to Filling Open Positions


Wednesday, March 16, 2022   

At the start of the pandemic, women in Nebraska and across the U.S. were the first to exit the workforce. A new survey from the Institute for Women's Policy Research could offer a roadmap for employers to get more women back to work, and ensure that they can remain on the job.

Nicole Mason, president and CEO of the institute, said there is a significant gap between what women say they want and what employers are currently offering.

"Higher pay, health insurance and workplace flexibility are top among the desired benefits for women who are re-entering the workforce," said Mason.

Between March and May of 2020, more than 12 million women lost jobs or stayed home to care for family members and supervise children.

When considering future jobs, nearly nine in ten surveyed women report a living wage and health insurance to be "very important" or "important" benefits. More than eight in ten women cite retirement benefits and job security as key factors.

Even after the pandemic exposed how critical it is for sick workers to be able to stay home, paid sick and family leave remains an elusive benefit for many working women.

More than one third of women surveyed working full-time do not have paid sick leave. Mason said close to 70% fear they could lose their job if they have to take time off due to illness or to care for a family member.

"But for many lower-wage workers, especially workers employed in the hardest hit sectors, they do not have paid sick leave," said Mason. "So not being able to come to work one day can jeopardize their jobs."

More than six in ten women surveyed consider control of their schedules to be "very important" or "important." Mason said lessons learned during the pandemic show that working remotely and allowing scheduling flexibility works, and does not negatively impact worker productivity.

"And I think we have an opportunity to try to create a win-win proposition for both employers and employees," said Mason. "And to create workplaces that work for all workers, not just a small fraction of them."

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