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US SALARY HISTORY BAN

Con­grat­u­la­tions, New York City work­ers. You’ll never have to re­veal your salary history in a job in­ter­view again. Passed ear­lier this year, ground­break­ing leg­is­la­tion bans em­ploy­ers from ask­ing can­di­dates about their pre­vi­ous pay pack­ets. The law was de­signed to com­bat wage dis­crim­i­na­tion (in the US, women are paid, on av­er­age, 20 per cent less than their male coun­ter­parts – a gap that fur­ther widens when com­par­ing the wages of His­panic and black women to white men). “Be­ing un­der­paid once should not con­demn one to a life­time of in­equal­ity,” said Leti­tia James, a pub­lic ad­vo­cate who helped pi­o­neer the New York City Coun­cil’s leg­is­la­tion. “We will never close the wage gap un­less we con­tinue to en­act proac­tive poli­cies that pro­mote eco­nomic jus­tice and eq­uity.” With a sim­i­lar law set to roll out in Mas­sachusetts mid-next year, ask­ing for salary history could soon be a thing of the past.

ICE­LAND IKEA AS­SEM­BLES APART­MENTS FOR STAFF

With Ice­land’s cap­i­tal Reyk­javik on the pointy end of a house price spike, IKEA is of­fer­ing a (true to form) af­ford­able so­lu­tion by build­ing a res­i­den­tial block with 36 apart­ments to rent to its Ice­landic em­ploy­ees. On an­nounc­ing the project, IKEA Ice­land CEO, Þórarinn AE­vars­son, in­di­cated that se­nior staff will be first in line to ten­ant the apart­ments – the small­est of which comes fully fur­nished for around 100,000 Króna (about US$894) a month – that will be ready to oc­cupy from sum­mer of next year. “That’s much cheaper than what a lot of peo­ple are pay­ing for a dump here and there around town,” said Þórarinn, adding that fi­nan­cial and emo­tional se­cu­rity keeps em­ploy­ees pro­duc­tive and con­tent. Any apart­ments that aren’t rented to IKEA team mem­bers will be of­fered to stu­dents, and pos­si­bly staff at the neigh­bour­ing Costco.

ITALY PRO­POSED PAID MEN­STRUAL LEAVE

Ital­ian women who ex­pe­ri­ence painful pe­ri­ods could soon be of­fered paid monthly ‘men­strual leave’ of up to three days. Pre­sented by four fe­male mem­bers of par­lia­ment in April of last year, the bill is cur­rently be­ing con­sid­ered by Italy’s labour com­mis­sion and, should it pass, it will be the first of its kind in a west­ern coun­try (com­pa­nies in Ja­pan and In­done­sia al­ready have sim­i­lar ‘pe­riod poli­cies’). Ex­perts have pointed to the emo­tional ben­e­fits a law like this would bring for fe­males suf­fer­ing se­vere men­strual symp­toms (in or­der to ac­cess the paid leave, they’ll need to present a doc­tor’s di­ag­no­sis of dys­men­or­rhea). How­ever, some fear it might make women less em­ploy­able, as com­pa­nies may hes­i­tate to hire them.

IN­DIA NEW LAW SCHOOL FOR PROS­TI­TU­TION VIC­TIMS

The School for Jus­tice, an ed­u­ca­tional in­sti­tu­tion teach­ing law to women who were vic­tims of child pros­ti­tu­tion, re­cently opened in In­dia. The school was born of a col­lab­o­ra­tion be­tween ad agency J Wal­ter Thomp­son Am­s­ter­dam, In­dia’s chap­ter of anti-sex traf­fick­ing or­gan­i­sa­tion, Free a Girl Move­ment, and one of the top law schools in the coun­try – the name of which hasn’t been re­vealed, to pro­tect the stu­dents. When Free a Girl Move­ment ap­proached JWT to raise aware­ness about child pros­ti­tu­tion, the agency de­cided to “go beyond the brief ” and set up an en­tire school to help women fight the same is­sues they suf­fered from. (In 2015 there were 1.2 mil­lion chil­dren forced into pros­ti­tu­tion in In­dia and only 55 con­victed cases.) The in­au­gu­ral co­hort of 19 women, aged be­tween 19 and 26, will grad­u­ate with law de­grees spe­cial­is­ing in com­mer­cial sex­ual ex­ploita­tion cases.

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