Economic Justice


 

Pregnancy and Family Friendly Workplace Laws

Women and their families need to know about New Mexico and federal laws that protect pregnant workers. They need to know if they have job protection if they have to take time off due to a difficult pregnancy. They need to know what parental leave may be available to them.

For all this information and more, check out our fact sheet: Pregnancy and Family Friendly Workplace Laws.

Women can face difficult employment decisions when pregnant. For information about all your rights as a pregnant worker, check out our fact sheet: Pregnant Workers’ Rights in New Mexico.

 

Childcare in New Mexico

The Southwest Women’s Law Center has completed a three-part report evaluating childcare affordability, availability and New Mexico’s Childcare Assistance Program:

 

The Wage Gap in New Mexico

For more information about the wage gap in New Mexico, click here.

 

Family and Medical Leave and Caregiver Discrimination

At its first meeting in 2005, the Board of the Southwest Women’s Law Center (SWLC) voted to make the area of family and medical leave a priority of the organization. Men and women in the workplace are often torn between taking care of the medical needs of self or family and risking the loss of their jobs. Women workers often bear the greatest burden of caring for children and sick family members. Because of this, SWLC maintains that workplace flexibility and promotion of reasonable paid sick and family leave will help women to obtain and keep their jobs, be more productive in the workplace, support their families, and be economically self-sufficient.

SWLC’s first programmatic effort in this area has been to ensure that victims of domestic violence and sexual assault in New Mexico are able to participate in court proceedings, obtain orders of protection and consult with attorneys and law enforcement without risking the loss of their jobs. For more information on this programmatic priority of the SWLC, click here.

In addition, SWLC has partnered with the other regional women’s law centers in the country and the Center for WorkLife Law to focus on new and emerging legal theories relating to Family Responsibilities Discrimination – cases where workers are discriminated against based on their family care giving responsibilities, including assumptions and biases regarding how such individuals will or should act. The Center for Worklife Law has developed and promoted this concept among employers, labor unions, policymakers, advocates and courts around the country. SWLC is exploring this creative and important area of law for possible programmatic activities in the future. For more information on the issue of Family Responsibilities Discrimination, please refer to the website of the Center for Worklife Law at www.worklifelaw.org

 

Protecting Domestic Violence Survivor’s Rights to Safe Access to Childcare Assistance

In September of 2012, New Mexico’s Children Youth and Families Department and Department of Human Services proposed changing the state’s regulations for how low-income families receive childcare assistance. The proposed changes included a requirement that parents seeking childcare assistance apply for child support from any absent parent before receiving assistance. The proposed changes did not sufficiently account for the myriad of reasons why low-income individuals, typically women, do not seek child support from an absent parent; most notably the reasons for not seeking support often include concerns about domestic violence, child abuse, and sexual assault. Additionally, the state proposal used the term “forcible rape” to describe one of the few circumstances under which women could receive an exemption from the requirement to seek child support from an absent parent. The Southwest Women’s Law Center submitted formal comments to CYFD in opposition to the proposed regulation changes, and collaborated with Young Women United and Voices for Children on testimony at a hearing on the proposed change. In response, the CYFD removed the offensive “forcible rape” terminology, and altered the proposed regulation to better meet the needs of domestic violence and sexual assault survivors seeking childcare assistance.