Editor’s Note: A version of this story appeared in CNN’s Work Transformed newsletter. To get it in your inbox, sign up for free here.
Women have made a lot of progress in the workplace over the years. But it could all start to unravel as they bear the brunt of the pandemic recession.
“The Covid-19 pandemic threatens to roll back gains in women’s economic opportunities, widening gender gaps that persist despite 30 years of progress,” IMF officials said earlier this week.
The reason: The economic toll of the pandemic is affecting women more than men because they tend to be employed by the hardest-hit industries, including retail, tourism and hospitality.
And the crisis’ impact on women is also being felt at home, where they’re more likely to take on housework and the added responsibilities of child care created by school and daycare closures, reports CNN Business’ Anneken Tappe.
Taking on these additional responsibilities could prevent women from returning to their jobs – even after the economy recovers. And the longer women are out of the job market, the harder it will be for them to break back in.
But don’t lose all hope: The IMF said governments can take steps to prevent a further decay in women’s progress. For instance, extending unemployment assistance or creating incentives to balance work and family care responsibilities could help ease the burden.
Click here to read more of the solutions they present.
We’re still in the thick of it
Another 1.4 million Americans filed for unemployment benefits for the first time last week.
That is the first increase in initial claims in 16 weeks, reports CNN Business’ Anneken Tappe and Tami Luhby. Claims had been falling since the last week of March when they peaked at 6.9 million.
As the coronavirus continues to spread across the US, reopening plans have been delayed or reversed, making it hard for workers to re-enter the job market.
Read more about today’s jobless data here.
The pandemic is still raging. So, where’s the hazard pay?
When the coronavirus caused most of the United States to go into lockdown, frontline workers came to the rescue.
They’ve been putting themselves at risk of being exposed in order to ensure we get the products and services we need.
As a way to reward and retain these essential workers, some retailers started giving out bonuses and pay bumps in the form of hazard pay.
But for many retail workers the additional pay has stopped, even though the pandemic – and the danger – is far from over.
CNN Business’ Nathaniel Meyersohn looked into the issue and presented an important question: Companies may not have an incentive to offer additional pay due to a current surplus of available workers in the job market.
But, if the concept of hazard pay is to compensate employees for taking on added risk, and that risk hasn’t disappeared, should they do it anyway?
Read his story here.
UK government hands out bonuses
The UK government announced earlier this week plans to give above-inflation pay raises to 900,000 public workers. Those set to receive the pay bumps include teachers, police officers, doctors and dentists, and senior civil servants.
But one key pandemic-fighting occupation was missing from the list: Nurses.
Here’s the government’s reasoning: Nurses and other health care workers’ salaries have already been boosted under a three-year deal agreed to in 2018, reports CNN’s Ivana Kottasová. That agreement included an annual increase in nurses’ pay for three years until 2021.
Despite the explanation, the omission didn’t sit well with some folks.
“If anything, we thought we’d be on top of the list,” a matron at King’s College Hospital in London told Kottasová. “You can feel the severe disappointment … it’s almost proving to us that we’re not as appreciated as we had hoped.”
Read more about the announcement here.
Uber’s last chance
Here’s a case to pay attention to in the UK: A lawsuit against Uber that could force it to treat its drivers as employees – not independent contractors.
As employees, drivers would be entitled to minimum wage, sick leave and the right to unionize, reports CNN’s Scott McLean.
The case reached the UK Supreme Court this week, and this is the ridesharing company’s final appeal. Lower courts have sided with the drivers.
The ruling could bring big changes to workers’ rights in Britain and may force Uber and other gig economy companies to rethink their business models.
Read the full story here.
Let me tell you about my new standing desk. I constructed it from two stacked packs of diapers on top of a buffet table. I currently rotate between that and a dining room chair.
And guess what? My back isn’t doing great these days.
As many of us head into month five of working from home, it could be time to upgrade your desk situation. Specifically, your chair.
My colleagues at Underscored, a product reviews and recommendations guide owned by CNN, spent more than a month testing nearly a dozen different chairs varying in price, function and style.
Here are the chairs they deemed best.