LOS ANGELES (CNS) - Los Angeles City Council President Nury Martinez joined leading businesswomen in Los Angeles today to bring attention to a website and toolkit that advises local businesses on how to create a more ``mom- friendly'' workplace and to announce companies that pledged to incorporate the efforts.
``Women have faced unprecedented adversity over the past two years,'' Martinez said. ``This website provides businesses with the information and resources they need to implement policies that welcome women and moms back to the workplace in a way that fits our new reality. Women knew that the status quo wasn't working before and it unfortunately took a pandemic for everyone else to see what we've known for years.''
The site was first announced by Martinez in August. During Wednesday's event, representatives for the L.A. Area Chamber of Commerce, the Central City Association, Microsoft, AEG, Cordoba Corp. and Accenture signed a pledge to make efforts toward implementing the toolkit's policies and guidelines to create a more women-friendly workplace. The five key elements of the pledge are eliminating the wage gap, supporting employees' child care needs, giving employees more control of their schedule, eliminating parenthood penalties and providing time to recover from childbirth and bond with newborns.
Martinez's office noted that unemployment rates for women have skyrocketed during the pandemic, with women leaving the workforce to take care of children and for mental health reasons. In December 2019, women's unemployment levels were at a low of 3.7% and rose to 16% in April 2020, until decreasing to 6.7% in December 2020, still nearly double the levels from a year earlier.
Her office cited a report by the National Women's Law Center that found male workers have regained the jobs they lost during the pandemic, but women are still short more than 1.8 million jobs since February 2020.
``As the first woman and first Latina to lead the Chamber in its over 130-year history, this is an important moment to drive change for women,'' Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Maria Salinas said. ``With so many women exiting the workplace, it is crucial to address their unique barriers to entry and re-entry into the workforce.''
WomenAtWorkLA.com was created with help from a report by the city's chief legislative analyst on the impact the pandemic had on working women. It provides recommendations to private companies on how they can support women reentering the workforce, including:
-- flexible work options;
-- support for child care;
-- a living wage;
-- adequate time to recover after childbirth or pregnancy loss.
Martinez's office noted that the recommendations in the report are already provided to city employees. In February 2021, the City Council implemented paid parental leave to all civilian city employees through June 30, 2025. The ordinance gives up to six weeks of 100% paid time off for pregnancy disability or to bond with a new child, including foster children and adopted children
``We are steadfast in our support for making workplaces more woman- and mom-friendly. We encourage fellow employers to follow Council President Martinez's lead and sign on to this effort because a commitment to working women is a commitment to equitable outcomes, financial security and healthy families,'' said Jessica Lall, president and CEO of the Central City Association. ``With strong leadership from employers, we can strengthen Los Angeles' workforce and foster a sustainable economy when we need it most.''
The toolkit is available at womenatworkla.com.