Washington among top states for workers, report finds
Washington is among the best states in the country for workers based on its high minimum wage and robust employee protections.
Driving the news: The global anti-poverty organization Oxfam on Thursday released its annual Best States to Work Index that looks at wage policies, worker protections and rights to organize.
- Washington placed fifth behind California, Oregon, District of Columbia and New York.
- That's down two spots from last year, when Washington came in third place.
- The worst states for workers this year are Alabama, South Carolina, Georgia, Mississippi and North Carolina, per the report.
Go deeper: In previous years, Washington gained points from being one of only a few states with policies protecting pregnant and breastfeeding workers, said Kaitlyn Henderson, senior research adviser with Oxfam America's US Domestic Policy Program and the report's lead author.
- But the index stopped tracking those accommodations at the state level when the federal government passed the Pregnant Worker Fairness Act and the PUMP Act.
What they're saying: "Washington had both policies before the federal mandates took effect, and thus benefitted from the inclusion of those criteria in our past rankings," Henderson told Axios.
Details: Washington state received the second highest marks for wages in the country following Washington D.C., which just instituted a minimum wage of $17 an hour. Washington state's minimum wage, at $15.74, remains more than double the federal minimum of $7.25 an hour.
- Washington also performed well because of its worker protections, which include paid family and medical leave, as well as a heat standard to help protect people working outdoors in extreme weather.
Yes, but: No state's minimum wage covers the cost of living, Oxfam says.
- A minimum wage worker in Washington is able to cover only 37.6% of the cost of living for a family of four, per the report.
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