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Today, in Washington DC, hundreds of business leaders, workers, moms and advocates from around the country will be discussing what needs to change to make work something that works for our 21st century families at the White House Summit on Working Families (you can live-stream it from the link.)

It’s the first time a conversation like this has happened at such a high level. And thanks in large part to Women AdvaNCe, North Carolina will have a strong, loud voice at the meeting.

We’re expecting the Tar Heel delegation to be 28 strong. Women AdvaNCe has been working in targeted counties to bring the conversations about pay equity, paid earned sick leave and the need for stronger family support and worker protections. Now they are going to tell Washington what they think.  Twenty-three women from six different counties—from Alamance, Durham, Guilford, Orange, Wake, and Robeson counties—will be providing feedback on these issues and more in Washington. Another five of us will be attending through MomsRising, the North Carolina Families Care coalition and the NC Justice Center.

“The number of women in today’s U.S. workforce has grown to 47%, and many women serve as both their family’s breadwinner and primary caregiver,” said Mary Swann Parry, Director of Advocacy at Women AdvaNCe.  “Today’s families need workplace flexibility with supports like paid sick and family leave, so that parents don’t have to choose between staying home with a sick child or going to work so that they can afford to buy groceries. It’s about economic stability.”

Lack of paid sick and family leave also hurts business, according to Durham’s Laura Helms Reece, CEO at Rho, Inc. “It is not financially smart to lose people to bad policies,” she said. “It is more expensive to hire someone else than to offer current employees those sick days.”

Reece participated in a recent round table discussion led by Women AdvaNCe in preparation of the D.C. Summit, where working women and business leaders gathered to discuss how NC businesses and policymakers can help close the leadership gap for women in North Carolina.

Expect to hear a lot more about the need for workplace policies that make good business sense and that don’t force parents to choose between putting food on the table and letting a sick child recuperate at home with mom. Local laws are being passed around the country to provide this basic protection.

 

Not only is Women AdvaNCe planning a local summit on September 26 related to these issues of equity, but they and others like Working America and MomsRising are working in coalitions like NC Women Matter, NC Women United, and North Carolina Families Care to raise our voices so families aren’t forced into impossible choices.

 

Paid sick leave[Cross-posted from Think Progress]

North Carolina could be next to throw a wrench into paid sick leave
By Bryce Covert

A wave of so-called “preemption” bills that block paid sick days legislation before it can even be introduced or passed has cropped up across the country. North Carolina could be the next state to pass such a law if Gov. Pat McCroy (R) signs HB74, or the Regulatory Reform Act of 2013, which is sitting on his desk awaiting his signature and takes an incremental step toward barring paid sick days legislation.

Section 5 of the bill blocks the rights of cities and counties to enact paid sick days requirements for government contract workers. While this wouldn’t impact the entire workforce, it could erode standards. As Vicki Meath, executive director of Just Economics, writes, because governments are required to accept the lowest acceptable bid, “Living wage policies help contractors level the playing field so that they can compete for city and county contracts on the basis of the quality of their work instead of a race to the bottom in terms of worker wages and benefits.” If those standards are raised, it can help raise the floor for all workers….

Read the rest of the post by clicking here.

 

Elizabeth Malm, an economist with the conservative Tax Foundation, yesterday voiced support for the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) at a debate about tax reform in North Carolina, highlighting how out-of-touch North Carolina’s leadership is when it comes to its treatment of working families in tax reform efforts.

The EITC, which goes to families that work but struggle to get by due to low wages and helps them pay for basic necessities, has received backing from politicians of all stripes over the years including President Ronald Reagan. It’s not hard to see why since this modest tax credit reduces child poverty, improves kids’ chances of success as adults, and lessens the need for public assistance.

Ms. Malm’s backing of the EITC stands in stark contrast to the actions of Governor McCrory and legislative leadership, who already gave the OK to reduce the state EITC in tax year 2013 and eliminate the tax credit thereafter. This misguided decision will result in a tax hike on more than 900,000 of North Carolina’s lowest-paid workers and their families. Read More