Media Release: New Report Finds Female Restaurant Workers Pay Penalties for Both Gender and Motherhood

Immediate Release: July 10, 2013
Contact: Susan Berryman Rodriguez (404) 222.0030

Washington, DC, July 10, 2013 — 9to5 joined the Restaurant Opportunities Centers United (ROC-United) and other organizations to release a new report, “The Third Shift: Child Care Needs and Access for Working Mothers in Restaurants,” this week. Despite representing one of the largest segments of the U.S. economy and experiencing one of the largest growth rates, the restaurant industry continues to exploit its workers – particularly women, including mothers. Key findings in the report concluded that working mothers lack access to affordable child care, career mobility and a living wage with benefits.

Women make up over half of the more than ten million workers in the restaurant industry, and two million of them are mothers like Regina Holloway. A single mother of three and 9to5 Atlanta member, Holloway worked as a server at a metro Atlanta Waffle House for several years earning subminimum wage. Working an average of 28 hours a week and earning $2.13 an hour, Holloway would bring in a weekly average of $50 in tips totaling her weekly income to $110.

Holloway, like millions of women in the U.S., is the head of her household. According to a 2013 Pew Research Center report, mothers are the sole or primary source of income in 40 percent of households and nearly 30 percent of them are single working mothers. While the number of mother-headed households has risen, public investments in child care have plunged by $2 billion within one year.

Another key finding in the report discovered that over 90 percent of mothers surveyed were unable to earn paid sick days. Again Holloway is emblematic of those surveyed. She was forced to take an unpaid day off if she or her kids got sick. Losing a day’s pay for taking care of your own health or a loved one undermines working mothers’ ability to spend on the basics that helps keep our economy going.

“Representing such growth and prosperity, the restaurant industry can afford to provide a higher floor for wages for its workers and their families,” says Linda Meric, national executive director of 9to5. “We need to raise the minimum wage, establish a minimum standard for earned sick days, and expand access to affordable child care. If we demand and win these basic common-sense protections, the whole economy will flourish.”

To read the full report and its recommendations, click here or call the Job Survival Helpline at (800) 522.0925 for more information.


About 9to5: Winning justice for working women for 40 years, 9to5 leads the way to create a powerful force for change on issues affecting low-wage women and their families. Through hands-on leadership development, grassroots organizing and policy advocacy, 9to5 organizes women in campaigns for family-supporting jobs with living wages and paid sick days; and stronger protections against workplace discrimination. 9to5 is one of the largest, most respected national membership organizations of working women in the U.S. To learn more or to get involved, visit and find us on Facebook and Twitter.



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