Comment on Pennsylvania's Overtime Regulations

In early July, the Pennsylvania Department of Labor and Industry (DLI) proposed a new regulation requiring public comment. The proposed regulation would greatly expand eligibility for overtime pay in Pennsylvania.

The regulation, available here, makes it harder for employers to classify workers as exempt managers and administrative professionals by raising the minimum salary these workers have to get from $23,660 to $47,892.

This regulation mirrors much of the overtime proposal under President Obama's Administration that was put on hold in the courts. It would do three things:
Clarify the definitions of executive, administrative, and professional workers to make it much easier to figure out what kinds of job duties qualify under the exemption. Raise the minimum salary threshold for the exemption from $23,660/year to $47,892/year within two years and then institute a formula to update the minimum threshold every three years going forward. Allow employers to count nondiscretionary b…

Take Action Today!

With so much happening, here are some short takes on today's news:
Families Belong Together: Despite a court order for reunification by July 10, nearly half of the children under 5 remain without their parents. Over 50 children are expected to be reunited today, with others in limbo as lawyers work to clear parents to take custody or to find parents no longer in custody - some of whom have been deported without their childrenTake Action: You can continue to call legislators and support organizations helping families in need. For further information, read our blog post from a few weeks ago. Shut Down Berks is holding a vigil on Sunday to Shut Down the Berks County Family Detention Center. Check out the link to learn more.SCOTUS: Last night, the President announced his nominee for the Supreme Court, Brett Kavanaugh. Judge Kavanaugh currently serves on the US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia.Take Action: You can read more about Judge Kavanaugh from CNN, Fox News, the

Governor Wolf signs the 2018-2019 Budget

There were few surprises in this year's Pennsylvania budget (other than the fact that it finished up early). We've compiled our usual list below of line items affecting low-income families and the people we serve. To see the full budget, visit the PA Office of the Budget.

As you can see below, most line items that we follow stayed level or increased in funding. While the Governor's budget "zeroed out" (removed funding) from a few, all programs that we watch regained their funding in the legislature.

Taking action on public benefits

The Senate is expected to take up the Farm Bill this week, with a vote likely tomorrow. S. 3042 protects current SNAP benefit levels and eligibility rather than adding burdensome requirements (including additional work requirements) to the law.

At the same time as SNAP is being debated in Congress, rules changes are rumored from the Administration. These changes could mean that immigrants would not be eligible for green cards if they or their children use benefits such as Medicaid, CHIP, or even the ACA marketplace - even though the immigrants in question have entered the country legally and are legally allowed to use the programs.
Take Action:  Call your Senators at 202-224-3121 to share your thoughts on S. 3042. Here's a sample script: "Hello, my name is _________ and I am a constituent of Senator __________. My zip code is __________. I am calling today in support of S. 3042, the Farm Bill, as it is currently written. Please support this bill but do not allow any amendments …

Judge rules that families must be reunited. But there is more to do.

Last night, a federal judge in California ordered that children separated from their parents as part of the zero-tolerance immigration policy be reunited with their families within 30 days. Children under five must be reunited even sooner, and all parents must be able to contact their children by phone within ten days.

This action is good, but the work of reuniting children and protecting families is far from over. You can find our previous posts on this topic here and here. For the latest on what we can do, see below.
Families Belong Together Rally. Rallies will be happening across the country on June 30. The main rally will be in DC, but you can learn about all rallies at your elected officials. Dial 202-224-3121 to reach any member of Congress. The American Immigration Lawyers Association has tools that you can use.Here is a sample script: Hello, my name is _____ and as a constituent, I urge the _____ to use Congress' oversight authority to ke…

More on what we can do to stop family separation

(Updated June 19, 2018)

Here are more resources to help you take action against the separation of family members entering the United States (read our post from last week for the original information). Thanks especially to Families Belong Together for your comprehensive list of information.

**Here's what's happening. The Guardianput together a Q and A that you can read here. According to this article, migrant families crossing the border illegally, even if they are seeking asylum, may now be criminally prosecuted under a new policy put in place this April. If the families come with children, the children are separated from their parents while the parents are held in federal jail. Children then wait to be reunified with their parents or to be sent to relatives or sponsors. According to The Guardian, this wait can take weeks or months. News reports from this weekend show some of the facilities for children and a copy of the handout given to parents when their children are removed…

Pennsylvania SNAP Vote on Monday!

From our friends at the Coalition Against Hunger:

We know we've been calling on you in recent months for your help with the federal Farm Bill, and we’re grateful for your impactful action. Now, we need your help on a horrible SNAP bill that will be voted on in the Pennsylvania Senate on Monday.

HB 1659, which already passed in the PA House of Representatives, would bring SNAP work requirements to ALL "able-bodied adults without children" (those age 18-49) throughout Pennsylvania - even in areas of high unemployment. HB 1659 will require spending millions of STATE dollars for monitoring and compliance in order to turn away FEDERAL SNAP funds that help those struggling to put food on the table.

Call your State Senator (click here to look up his/her phone number) and say:

“I urge you to vote no on HB 1659. It is bad for people who are trying their best to make ends meet; bad for communities; and, does nothing to help people find jobs.”

Our partners at Hunger-free PA als…