Outdated Laws Cause Employee Benefit Gap

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2006-04-19 11:21

Employee benefit system

Even more serious than a wage gap between men and women, is an employee benefit gap. According to a soon-to-be-released book, "Leaving Women Behind: Modern Families, Outdated Laws," federal policies encourage employers to provide life insurance, disability insurance and even day care for children; yet not everyone is treated the same.

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"Our major economic institutions - including tax law, labor law, and employee benefits law, as well as Social Security, and retirement policies - were designed for families with a full- time worker and a stay-at-home spouse," said Kim Strassel, editorial writer for the Wall Street Journal and co-author of the book. "By comparison, they punish every other arrangement." For example:

  • Because of rigid tax laws and employee benefits laws, if both spouses work full-time they will likely receive duplicate, unnecessary sets of benefits. A wife, for example, will be unable to acquire higher wages in return for forgoing health and pension benefits she acquires through her husband's employer.

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