Friday, February 5, 2016
Parental Leave Could Solve the Culinary Gender Gap
Eater (Jan. 27, 2016): Escaping the Restaurant Industry's Motherhood Trap, by Amanda Kludt:
[T]he United States is one of only two countries in the world that doesn't grant paid leave for new mothers (the other is Papua New Guinea). We simply require that all businesses with over 50 employees offer twelve weeks of unpaid leave to full-timers who have been with them for one year. And there's no guarantee of the woman keeping the job: after those twelve weeks, the employer must offer only an "equivalent" job back to the employee.
This policy disproportionately affects the restaurant industry, where women have been historically shut out of high-level positions.
In fact, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor statistics, only four percent of food service workers — roughly 490,000 of the12.3 million individuals employed in this field — get any sort of paid family leave at all. The fact that restaurant workers make up the seven of the 10 lowest-paid positions in their survey compounds the problem.
Kludt calls for changed legislation mandating parental leave for all.
Women are primary or secondary breadwinners in two thirds of American families, so the loss of income for three months is no small matter.So paid leave specifically and childcare in general is an issue that all of us — not women, but our entire society, and the restaurant industry as a whole — need to grapple with. What's happening right now is unacceptable, and women can't right the wrongs alone.
More information on exploitation and gender-inequity in the restaurant industry can be found at WNYC.