Monday, August 16, 2010

PathWays PA E-Newsletter: August 16, 2010

State

House Labor Relations Committee to Hold Hearing on Earned Sick Time Bill

On August 17, the House’s Labor Relations Committee will hold a hearing to discuss the Healthy Families, Healthy Workplaces Act (HB 1830), which gives Pennsylvania’s workers the opportunity to earn up to 6.5 days (52 hours) of paid sick time. Workers would be permitted to use the hours they earn to care for themselves or a family member when they are sick or in instances of domestic violence.

Currently in Pennsylvania 46 percent of workers have no earned sick time, and a majority of employees without this benefit work in food service and care giving positions. When workers without earned sick time are sick, they have to choose between going to work – where they could potentially infect co-workers or customers – and staying home – where they will lose pay and possibly their jobs.

Please join advocates in Harrisburg for a press conference to discuss the need for earned sick time in the Capitol Rotunda at 12:00, with the hearing will follow at 1:00. If you cannot make it to Harrisburg, please contact your State Representative and let him or her know how important earned sick time is for Pennsylvania’s workers.

To learn more about this issue, please visit the Coalition for Healthy Families and Workplaces Blog.

FMAP Passes: What It Means for Pennsylvania

Last week, legislation to provide additional funding to states passed and was signed by the President. Over $16 billion in funding will now go to states to bolster their weakened budgets. Pennsylvania will receive approximately $600 million from FMAP and almost $400 million in federal education funding.

Even with this additional funding, Pennsylvania will have a budgetary gap of between $200 million and $250 million. Current proposals to close the gap include:
  • 1.9% cuts across the board in discretionary appropriations (expected to total $198 million, including a $50 million cut in basic education funding)
  • 1.9% cut to legislature (totaling $6 million)
  • 1.9% cut to courts (totaling $5 million)
  • 1.9% cut to elected independents (totaling $3 million)
Please contact your state legislators today to support the important services that Pennsylvania's families continue to rely on in these tough economic times.

Information/Events

Future of the Way to Work Program Planning Meeting

Pennsylvania’s Way to Work program was designed to stimulate job growth and the economy. Through the program, employers can hire new employees and that employee’s wages would be covered up to $13 an hour. In addition, employees hired will receive a range of services from career guidance to occupational training.

The Way to Work Program has recently begun employing thousands of people in Pennsylvania and Philadelphia. Many businesses, government agencies and non-profits are currently benefiting from the work of re-employed Pennsylvanians. Unfortunately, the program is scheduled to expire on September 30, 2010 and thousands who have just started working will be let go from those jobs.

WHEN: Thursday August 19, 11AM
WHERE: Philadelphia Unemployment Project, 112 N. Broad St. 2nd Floor, Philadelphia PA

Pennsylvania Labor and Industry Secretary Sandi Vito will be a special guest at this meeting.

Efforts are being made in Congress to extend the program and a coalition is being built to support the continuation of the Way to Work program in Pennsylvania. Employers and employees are encouraged to become involved in efforts to save these jobs and services.

SafeLink Wireless

SafeLink Wireless is a government-supported program that provides a free cell phone and airtime each month for income-eligible customers. This program is available in 26 states, including Pennsylvania.
To be eligible for this program in Pennsylvania a household’s income must be at or below 135 percent of the Federal Poverty Level or they must be already participating in one of the following programs:
  • Federal Public Housing Assistance / Section 8
  • Food Stamps
  • Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP)
  • Supplemental Security Income (SSI)
  • National School Lunch (free program only)
  • Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF)
  • Medicaid
  • State Blind Pension
To learn more about this program or to apply by calling 1-800-SAFELINK or visit www.SafeLink.com.

National PTA Offers Back-to-School Advice

September is just a few weeks away, which means summer is almost over and kids will soon be back in school. To assist parents with preparing their children for school the National PTA has created a Back to School Central web resource. This resource provides expert advice to prepare your students to go back to school.
You can also join the conversations in the PTA Great Idea Bank. Other parents and PTA members share success stories, discuss ideas and answer each others' questions on this safe, secure social networking platform.

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