Oxfam Ranks Maryland 14th Best State for Workers

A new Oxfam America report ranks Maryland as the 14th best state for workers, up two spots from last year. Here’s what it means.

Oxfam America, the American branch of a global nonprofit focused on poverty eradication, recently ranked the best and worst states to work in the country. The 2022 report based its rankings on three policy areas: wages, worker protections, and rights to organize and analyzed working conditions in all 50 states, as well as Washington, D.C. and Puerto Rico.

Maryland ranks highly as a top-state for workers, moves up in ranking from 2021

Based on the categories of wages worker protections, and rights to organize, Oxfam America has ranked Maryland as the 14th best state for workers, with an overall score of 63.05. Topping the rankings were Oregon, California, Washington, and the District of Columbia. Maryland squeezed ahead of Rhode Island, Nevada, Puerto Rico, and Minnesota in overall ranking.

Maryland’s 14th place ranking is two spots-improved from its 2021 ranking of 16th place. In 2021, Oxfam ranked Maryland overall at 16, with an overall score of 62.03. The 2022 Oxfam report highlighted Maryland’s passaged of the 2022 Time to Care Act — or paid family leave — as a major reason for the state moving up in rankings since the 2021 analysis.

Other key findings and rankings

  • Maryland scored highly for right to organize, at eleventh place nationally, with a score of 80;
  • Maryland ranked fifteenth regarding wage dimensions, with a score of 60.74; and
  • Maryland, again ranked fifteenth for worker protections with a score of 53.57.
  • Compared to 2021 rankings, Maryland saw gains in both, its wage and worker protections scores. However, the state fell five points in its right to organize score, from 85 in 2021 to 80 in 2022.

Maryland is ranked as the 19th best state for overall working conditions for women

When looking at working conditions for women, Oxfam America analyzed the same three categories (wages, worker protections, and right to organize), but specified criteria to better fit the general work experiences of women. According to the report, the group looked at:

  • Wages. We focus specifically on the ratio of tipped wages to cost of living for one wage earner and two dependents (69 percent of tipped minimum wage workers are women,16 36 percent are mothers, and over half of those are single mothers17).
  • Worker Protections. We looked at the following for worker protections:
    • Pregnancy accommodations and the right to pump in the workplace, specificallythe private sector
    • Equal pay
    • Paid leave (medical and family)
    • Fixed and fair scheduling
    • Protection against sexual harassment in the workplace
    • Domestic worker protections
  • Rights to organize. We looked at rights to organize for public school teachers. This workforce is the largest sector of public workers in the United States, and as of 2017, 76 percent of public school teachers were women.

Notably, Maryland moved up one place in overall ranking for working women from 2021, in which it placed at 20th best.

Oregon continues to lead

Notably, Oregon was ranked as the best state for workers for the second year in a row, with an overall 2022 score of 86.72. Oregon also topped the 2022 women-specific rankings as top-state, with a score of 94.93.

Reasons for Oregon’s continued leadership include:

  • New laws mandating heat protections for outdoor workers, making it one of only a handful of states to enact such protections;
  • Policies aimed to improve workplace conditions; and
  • Strong unemployment benefits and comprehensive paid leave policy, which covers part-time employees and includes “safe leave” for survivors of sexual assault, harassment and domestic violence.

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