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  1. Blog
  2. News
  3. March 16, 2020

Women in the News + Companies Create Temporary Paid Sick Leave Policies

March 16: Badass women and the news that affects them

Women in the News + Companies Create Temporary Paid Sick Leave Policies

This article is part of InHerSight's Working During Coronavirus series. As the coronavirus pandemic continues, find helpful advice here on working remotely, job hunting remotely, dealing with anxiety and stress, and staying safe at work if you have to be on-site.

Illustration courtesy of Blogood

Company Culture

  • Who among us can definitively say we’ve never gone into work sick? It’s a problem even under normal circumstances, but lack of paid sick leave during a pandemic can be downright deadly, especially in the service industry where hourly workers have the most contact with the public (prepping food, completing transactions, etc.) and are the least likely of all to have paid sick leave benefits. Fortunately, some companies like Starbucks (3.2 stars) , Olive Garden (2.7 stars) , and Walmart (2.5 stars) have stepped up to implement temporary policies to allow workers to stay home if they are sick without penalty and accrue some pay. These efforts should be applauded, but we should be frank in acknowledging that these benefits should have long existed for workers, and they must be made into permanent policy for not only the next pandemic, but also for the sake of the immunocompromised for whom even typical illnesses can be fatal. ABC

  • Goldman Sachs Group Inc. (3.5 stars) is tired of all-male boards—the firm’s fund management unit has announced that it will vote against nominating committees anywhere in the world that fail to include at least one woman on the board. Goldman casts more than 11,000 proxy votes, and its new policy comes after a January announcement that the firm will only take companies with a woman or diverse board member public.

  • Carol Tomé will replace David Abney to become the first woman CEO of the UPS (2.5 stars) . Her appointment will bring the number of women CEOs in the Fortune 500 to 38. Fortune

  • Another organization seeing a woman leader for the first time is the U.S. Soccer Federation as former player and coach Cindy Parlow Cone takes the reins as president after the resignation of Carlos Cordeiro. Cordeiro’s resignation came amid a legal filing by the federation in the equal pay suit that belittled the women’s team and used misogynistic language. Parlow Cone assumes leadership at a tumultuous time when the USSF must come to terms with this high-profile lawsuit, its mistreatment of women players, and various financial hardships. The Washington Post

Quick Hits

  • Among other shortcomings of American society, the coronavirus outbreak has exposed our unacceptable lack of worker protections, especially the lack of federally mandated paid sick leave. As the federal government has scrambled to keep the outbreak in check, Congress sprang into action to pass a bill to grant some workers paid sick leave in the hopes of reducing transmission. The emergency relief package passed on Saturday will allow for free coronavirus testing for all, including the uninsured, and provides some workers two weeks of paid sick leave and up to three months of paid family and medical leave, equal to no less than two-thirds of their pay. However, many critics point out that exemptions for businesses that have more than 500 employees will exclude nearly 20 million workers from the paid leave benefits, who will have to choose between losing their jobs and potentially spreading and/or contracting the disease. NY Times

  • At Sunday’s presidential debate, which was held without a live audience and with the candidates’ podiums a tad awkwardly far apart (social distancing in action!), Joe Biden vowed to pick a woman as his running mate. Bernie Sanders signaled he will come to a similar decision, saying, “In all likelihood, I will,” but added that “it’s not just nominating a woman. It is making sure that we have a progressive woman and there are progressive women out there.” Vox

  • Former media mogul and convicted sexual predator Harvey Weinstein was sentenced to 23 years in prison last week for sex crimes. The judge presiding over the case, Justice James A. Burke, could have chosen to sentence Weinstein to as few as five years of prison time, but heeded the advice of prosecutors and handed down the harsher sentence. “Although this is a first conviction, it is not a first offense,” Justice Burke reasoned. This lengthy sentence brings new hope to #MeToo activists who can interpret Weinstein’s sentencing as proof that the movement and reality of sexual assault is finally being taken seriously. NY Times

Around the World

  • Canada: The federal government introduced new legislation to criminalize LGBTQ conversion therapy. The legislation proposes adding amendments to Canada’s Criminal Code to include offenses such as causing a person to undergo conversion therapy, advertising and profiting from conversion therapy and removing a minor from Canada. Reuters

  • United Kingdom: As part of its efforts to eradicate HIV infections within 10 years, the National Health Service will begin to provide the PrEP antiretroviral drug for free to people belonging to high-risk groups, such as gay men and sex workers. Bloomberg

  • Nigeria: This piece is hard to read at times, and, fair warning, there are numerous mentions of violence, suicide, and abuse but this article by Dionne Searcey for The New York Times about Balaraba Mohammed, a young woman who was captured by Boko Haram to become a suicide bomber and bravely outsmarted her captors, is a must-read. NY Times

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