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Working and not getting by – states are taking action

Posted By Sabine Schoenbach On April 12, 2012 @ 1:29 pm In Uncategorized | Comments Disabled

In the aftermath of the Great Recession, with not enough jobs for North Carolina’s job seekers, many North Carolinians are still struggling to find work [1]. But many workers who managed to hold onto their jobs during the recession are continuing to find it difficult to make ends meet. [2]

U.S. Census bureau data show that in 2010, there were over 350,000 low-income working families in North Carolina. This means that over 1 in 3 working families in the state were earning less than 200 percent of the official poverty threshold, much less than it actually takes to make ends meet [3]. North Carolina is not alone – nationally, the share of low-income working families increased to 31 percent [4] in 2010.

States around the country are responding in a number of ways to ensure that by working, a family can actually pay the bills. Legislators in New York, New Jersey, Connecticut and Illinois, for instance, are pushing to raise their states’ minimum wage [5].  Job retention policies are also on the table. This past year has seen an unprecedented number of successes in getting paid sick days legislation passed, with Connecticut leading the way [6] on the state level. Moreover, states and localities are working to pass wage theft legislation [7] to ensure that workers are actually paid for the work they perform. Finally, the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC)  — which is crucial for low-income working families and infuses communities with millions of dollars each year – is slated to be restored in New Jersey (though, gradually [8]).

Economic impact analysis shows that a higher minimum wage creates jobs and strengthens the economy [9]; paid sick days and family leave insurance increase economic security [10] while cutting health care costs and boosting employers’ bottom line; and paying workers their earned wages is both a moral and a legal imperative. Moreover, the EITC is a crucial tool [11] to assist working families in meeting basic needs and helps communities statewide. Creating and maintaining jobs that pay a living wage and providing benefits that ensure job stability puts us all on the right path toward shared economic prosperity and creates much-needed economic growth for North Carolina.


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URL to article: http://pulse.ncpolicywatch.org/2012/04/12/working-and-not-getting-by-states-are-taking-action/

URLs in this post:

[1] still struggling to find work: http://tarheelworkers.org

[2] Image: http://pulse.ncpolicywatch.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/04/workers.jpg

[3] actually takes to make ends meet: http://www.ncjustice.org/?q=node/916

[4] increased to 31 percent: http://www.workingpoorfamilies.org/pdfs/Overlooked_Dec2011.pdf

[5] pushing to raise their states’ minimum wage: http://www.nytimes.com/2012/04/10/business/economy/a-campaign-to-raise-the-minimum-wage.html?pagewanted=1&_r=1&emc=eta1)

[6] Connecticut leading the way: http://www.washingtonpost.com/business/economy/connecticut-1st-state-to-require-paid-sick-time/2011/07/05/gIQAU9S1zH_story.html

[7] wage theft legislation: http://wagetheft.org/wordpress/?page_id=1634

[8] though, gradually: http://www.njpp.org/blog/op-ed-dont-delay-restoration-of-low-income-tax-credit

[9] creates jobs and strengthens the economy: http://www.epi.org/publication/ib321-illinois-minimum-wage/

[10] increase economic security: http://news.rutgers.edu/medrel/news-releases/2012/01/rutgers-study-finds-20120118

[11] EITC is a crucial tool: http://saveeitc.org/

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