Across the country, women often find themselves significantly behind their male counterparts in preparing for retirement--and they are more likely to face financial uncertainty during retirement. In 2014, the median female retirement income was just 55 percent of the average male retirement income. Additionally, women over 65 are 80 percent more likely to fall into poverty during retirement and are more likely to leave the workforce during their income-earning years to become caregivers for loved ones.
The bill would address several financial challenges that disproportionately impact female workers, retirees, and their families. It would help bolster the retirement security of
"Too often, women face challenges in the workplace with gender pay disparities and lack of access to paid leave to care for family members or newborns. We need to address those issues and also make sure that the barriers they face don't follow them into retirement," said Heitkamp. "It's clear that women face poverty in retirement at rates drastically higher than men. No one should be forced to worry about losing their retirement savings or falling into poverty during their golden years, and our bill would help more
This legislation would take needed steps to assist women in building secure and longer-lasting retirements. Additionally, the bill includes a provision that would extend spousal protections to prevent one spouse from undermining a couple's retirement resources without the other's consent. Specifically, the Women's Pension Protection Act of 2018 would:
* Strengthen consumer protections to safeguard retirement savings by expanding existing spousal protections for defined benefit plans to defined contribution plans to prevent one spouse from making decisions that might undermine a couple's retirement resources without the other's knowledge and consent;
* Expand access to retirement savings plans by changing the minimum participation standards for long-term, part-time workers-- most of whom are women;
* Increase financial literacy by providing grants for community-based organizations to improve the financial literacy among women who are of working or retirement age;
* Support low-income women and survivors of domestic abuse seeking retirement benefits by providing grants for community-based organizations that assist them in obtaining qualified domestic relations orders, the legal instruments that allow for the division of retirement benefits-- enabling them to receive the retirement benefits they are entitled to following a divorce or legal separation.
Organizations backing the legislation include
This legislation builds on Heitkamp's efforts in the
Heitkamp has also been an ardent defender of the pensions of 2,000
Heitkamp has long fought for pay equity for women in the workplace, as well as for the financial security of
Heitkamp is also a strong supporter of the Paycheck Fairness Act - which was blocked on multiple occasions in 2014 by
Read this original document at: https://www.heitkamp.senate.gov/public/index.cfm/press-releases?ID=A582093C-C592-4822-8FE7-D1754A59D257