Statement on Paid Leave Proposal to be Introduced by Lakewood City Council Member, Meghan George

On January 7, Councilperson Meghan George will propose an ordinance to provide paid leave to city employees following the birth or adoption of a child and additional paid leave for mothers recovering from childbirth. This ordinance is similar to the one passed in 2016 in Newburgh Heights.  

I am in complete support of such legislation and agree with Councilperson George when she states that "I believe that it is important that our City enact employment policies supportive of and consistent with the realities that employees face juggling family and employment responsibilities. There are more women in the workforce than ever before but public policy is still lacking far behind. Lakewood is in a position where we can be a leader in this area, which is gaining momentum across the country."

I would add to that vision of leadership in Lakewood: Equal pay for women. In the over five decades since the Equal Pay Act of 1963 was signed into law, women have continued to push to close the seemingly ever-present gap in pay between them and their male counterparts. Women are no longer simply supplementing their spouse's income, they are now breadwinners with families that depend on their income for survival. According to Time Magazine  (citing a report from the Center for American Progress), nearly 65% of American women were either the sole or primary family breadwinner or co-breadwinner in 2015. That number is even higher among African-American and Hispanic women (70.7% of black mothers and 40.5% of Latina mothers were found to bring home the majority of their family’s income).

Councilperson George's legislation is a great example of the forward-thinking, community driven focus we need more of in Lakewood. In that stead, if elected to Lakewood City Council, I am prepared to propose an equal pay ordinance. According to the Institute for Women’s Policy Research, women earn about 82 cents for every dollar their male counterpart is paid (that number is closer to 62 cents for Latina women, and 68 cents for African American women). The continued gap in pay for women who perform equal work is unacceptable. Here too, our city has the opportunity to lead by example and resolve to ensure that women in Lakewood are paid an equal wage. gap in pay based on gender should be unacceptable in Lakewood.

Laura Rodriguez-Carbone