Equity & Justice for Families during the COVID-19 Pandemic

Policy Recommendations

The World We Want

We have a chance to get this right — for everyone.

ERA is working with partners to influence temporary relief packages and drive permanent policy fixes. Together we advocate for state legislative agendas containing proposals that promise permanent economic security solutions for the workers and families most affected by COVID-19.

ERA envisions a world in which all families have what they need to feel economically secure, no matter the crisis. Women workers have value because they are essential to our community, and they benefit from premium pay as opposed to poverty wages. They thrive in safe and family-friendly workplaces, which never force a choice between one’s job and health. Families can depend on affordable and quality child care. Students can rely on their school to educate them equally without the threat and disruption of sexual violence.

Multi-State Advocacy

As workers choose between their health and jobs, bills ensuring permanent paid sick and family leave await votes in states like Tennessee, Illinois, and North Carolina. For families struggling with inadequate unemployment benefits in Mississippi, for instance, proposals to combat pay discrimination that lower unemployment benefits need public support.

ERA is continuing the coordination, support, and tracking of women’s economic security agendas in different states (including new COVID-19 legislation) through the Stop Harassment State Network and Rapid Response Team, Equal Pay Today, and our Women’s Agenda Policy Hub.

In addition to COVID-19 bills, the Stronger California Women’s Economic Agenda includes a bill that would end the exemption of domestic workers from state occupational safety and hazards laws (SB 1257), as well as equal pay legislation (SB 973). These protections are more critical than ever to boost the financial security of families being affected by the pandemic. 

Alongside local advocates in those states, here are proposals across the country we support:

  • Mississippi SB 2522: Would require employees of the opposite sex in the same work establishment to receive equal pay for equal work. 
  • Connecticut HB 5381: Would allow employees to sue employers on behalf of the state after having waived their personal rights to sue by signing forced arbitration agreements 
  • Illinois SB 1829: Would prohibit the use of Non-Disclosure Agreements and forced arbitration in cases of sexual harassment or discrimination 
  • Maryland HB 123: Prohibits an employer from relying on a prospective employee’s prior salary history and requires an employer to provide a wage range for the position, upon request 
  • Massachusetts SB 217: Would prohibit an employer from relying on a prospective employee’s prior salary history and would require an employer to provide a wage range for the position upon request of the prospective employee. 
  • Kentucky HB 168: Would prohibit legislators or legislative employees from discriminating or sexually harassing other legislators or legislative employees 
  • Pennsylvania SB 38: Would make it unlawful for an employer to retaliate against any employee or prospective employee for discussing wage information 
  • Maine LD 1529: Would make it an unlawful employment practice for an employer to enter into a contract or agreement with an employee that contains a non-disclosure agreement 

Federal Policy Recommendations

Large scale federal action has been the difference between a country’s prepared response and an inadequate one. When our representatives set and enforce smart policies, it saves lives and protects the well-being of our families.

In addition to wanting any new COVID-19 relief legislation to include the overlooked needs of immigrant, undocumented, food and service, and other low-paid essential workers, ERA wants to apply this same principle of bold, collective action to reimagine our economy and improve our systems so that every family has an opportunity to thrive.

As proposals are introduced, we will update our policy objectives.

Currently, these are the federal proposals we support:

Legal Advice & Resources / Consejos y Recursos legales

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Learn what your rights are so you can navigate your situation and make the best decision for you.

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We may be able to provide free legal help for the following issues at work or school: gender and LGBTQI+ discrimination, sexual harassment, sexual assault, and pregnancy or parenting discrimination.

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Posible que podamos proveer ayuda legal por gratis por los siguientes problemas en el trabajo o la escuela: discriminación basado en el género o por LGBTQI+, acoso sexual, asalto sexual, y discriminación basado en el embarazo o por ser padre/madre.


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