Well, consider these facts published in Real Clear Markets by Diana Furchtgott-Roth:
- The women's labor force participation rate has fallen from 76% before the recession to 74% today. "Well, that's only 2%," some true believers might observe. "Tisk. Tisk. Ho hum."
- For women aged 25 to 54 years, the employment rate is 2M short of pre-recession levels. That's 2M women out of jobs! Stop the "Tisk. Tisk." and the "Ho hum." If that happened during the tenure of a conservative president, imagine the outcry. "That's not just discriminatory, it's misogny! Something's got to be done!"
In response to these embarrassing facts, President Obama's Labor Department has proposed extending mandatory overtime pay to several million additional Americans. According to Fruchtgott-Roth, that proposal--designed to help women--will make it even more difficult for women to participate in the labor force.
- Overtime rules hurt women, because they reduce scheduling flexibility.
- Many women with families would prefer to exchange extra work hours for time off. Doing so allows them to change their work schedules as they need, because they need to take care of their children. It's called "flex-scheduling." As long as an employee works 40 hours and the work process isn't negatively impacted, does it matter whether one works 4, 10-hour days instead of 5, 8-hour days?
- However, the government's rules that require overtime pay limit women from negotiating time off with their employers. Why? The law requires employers to pay for those extra hours.
That's no "Tisk. Tisk." or "Ho. Hum." No, it's evidence that President Obama and his Labor Department are waging war on women, fighting this battle on the economic front. Not only are there 2M less women working since the beginning of the recession and the first six years of his administration, but the rules his administration is designing that are supposed to help women only hurt women.
The conservative solution in which the President is not interested?
The "Working Families Flexibility Act of 2013" (WFFA). This bill, proposed in the House, would expand the number of employees who can receive time off instead of overtime pay. WFFA would:
- allow employers to offer their workers the choice between overtime pay or 1.5 hours of time off/hour of overtime worked;
- allow employees to choose what's in their best interest: greater pay or greater flexibility.
WFFA not only would help working women with families, but the added flexibility would also encourage women who don't work to enter the workforce. Furchtgott-Roth notes that women--much more than men--seek flexibility in their work schedules because they place greater value on time spent with family. For this reason, 25% of women work only part time.
Listening to the President and his minions--the ones who are waging war on women--you'd think the conservatives had dreamed up the Labor Department's proposed regulations.
Let the discussion begin...
To read Diana Furchtgott-Roth article in Real Clear Markets, click on the following link:
"To Help Working Women, Set Them Free."