UNEQUAL UNEMPLOYMENT

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FYI: Gender inequality in the workplace extends into insurance benefits, a National Employment Law Project study charges. According to NELP’s analysis of state unemployment insurance programs, men qualify for benefits at a rate as much as 20 percent higher than that of women. Among workers who quit their jobs, women are 32 percent less likely to qualify for the benefit than men. NELP says the problem is that state qualification rules don’t match the realities of working women’s lives. Only 18 states, including New York, recognize domestic violence as a “good cause” to leave a job, thus qualifying you for unemployment benefits. Only 13 states, not including New York, allow women who quit because of sexual harassment to qualify. New York is also not among the handful of states that allow workers to qualify for benefits if they quit as a result of a host of family issues, such as child care, pregnancy or a spouse’s relocation. [3/13/03]