Monday, August 23, 2010

PathWays PA E-Newsletter: August 23, 2010

House Labor Relations Committee Held Hearing on Earned Sick Time Bill

On August 17, the House’s Labor Relations Committee held 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.

PathWays PA, along with other members of the Coalition for Healthy Families and Workplaces, attended and testified at the hearing.  Prior to the hearing, Coalition members met with legislators to talk about this important issue and held a press conference.  Even in the dog days of summer, the Coalition was able to make a great deal of progress on moving toward allowing workers in Pennsylvania to earn paid sick days.

To learn more about this issue please and to learn about our day in Harrisburg visit the Coalition for Healthy Families and Workplaces Blog.

PathWays PA Action Alerts


PathWays PA is proud to offer a new way to contact your legislators directly about important issues.  Over the next few weeks, we will be rolling out action alerts that will allow you to send targeted emails directly to your state and federal representatives on the issues that are important to you.


Let Your Legislators Know That Earned Sick Days Are Important To You!

If you support earned sick time, please let your legislator know today!

Currently in Pennsylvania 2.2 million 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.

When Motherhood Comes Up In The Job Interview

When you go on an interview, employers can't ask you about your race or religion.  But to the surprise of many, employers can ask about marital and familial status - and they do.   Kiki Peppard learned all about the impact of these questions when, after moving to Pennsylvania over 15 years ago, 19 employers in a row asked whether she was married and had children.  After learning she was a single mother, they all terminated the interviews.

Research shows that mothers, including single mothers, face discrimination and negative stereotyping when they look for employment.  While these questions seem close to sex discrimination, nothing prohibits interviewers from asking them so long as they ask both men and women.

In Pennsylvania, HB 2245 would amend the Human Relations Act to prohibit this type of discrimination by making it illegal to ask the following questions:
  • Are you married?
  • Do you have children? 

If you feel that the Human Relations Act should be amended, please contact your legislators today!


Federal

Act Now to Protect Students from Unmanageable Debt

The U.S. Department of Education has proposed new rules to protect students and taxpayers from career education programs that do not provide students with the education or training they need and to protect students from unmanageable debt.

Federal law requires career education programs that receive federal student aid to "prepare students for gainful employment in a recognized occupation." Too many of these programs rope in students with deceptive marketing and aggressive sales tactics, provide substandard training, and leave students with debt they can not pay back.  By defining "gainful employment," the proposed rules finally make it possible to enforce this important law.

A national coalition of advocates for students, consumers, civil rights and higher education is calling for stronger rules, and they need your voice, too.

Tell the Administration that the proposed "gainful employment" rules are a welcome start, but they need strengthening!

Visit www.protectstudentsandtaxpayers.org to call for stronger rules, and please help spread the word. The time allowed for commenting is short, and early comments have the most impact, so please send in your comments today.

State

Plan to Close Remaining Budget Deficit

With FMAP funding being less than what the state had budgeted for, a $282 million hole needs closing.  The Governor has a two-part plan to do so.

The first part includes across-the-board cuts in departmental spending, including the layoff of 100 state workers by early September.  The Governor expects to save $212 million by making a 1.9 percent cut in the budgets of dozens of agencies. In addition, he is urging the General Assembly, independent agencies, and state courts to cut their 2010-11 spending by the same amount.

The second part includes the enactment of a new severance tax on the natural gas being pumped from Marcellus Shale. It is anticipated that this would raise $70 million in new revenue from that levy. 
If the tax is not enacted by early October or if agencies and the legislature do not trim their budgets, the additional layoffs may be necessary. 

Information/Events

9to5’s National Day of Action: Healthy Workplace, Paid Sick Days Now

On Thursday, August 26, 2010 - Women’s Equality Day - 9to5 invites you, along with its members, activists, volunteers, allies and others to speak out, raise awareness and take action for paid sick days.

The 9to5 National Day of Action - Healthy Workplaces: Paid Sick Days Now! is designed to call the nation’s attention to the need for proposed federal legislation, the Healthy Families Act (H.R. 2460, S. 1152), which would guarantee paid sick days for every American worker. The day will also build and heighten support for paid sick days legislative campaigns underway in states and cities around the nation.

Wherever you live, there is something you can do to join the Day of Action.   Download the Activist Network Toolkit for tips, tools and ideas to get active in your neighborhood or workplace.  Email activist@9to5.org to sign up today!

No one should have to make the impossible choice between their job and their own health or the health of their loved ones. 9to5 strongly supports the Healthy Families Act (HFA), federal legislation that would allow workers to earn up to 7 paid sick days per year.

Take action today so that workers are not forced to choose between the family they love and job they need.  And don’t forget to also contact your state legislators to allow Pennsylvania’s workers to earn paid sick time!

Help Save the Way to Work Program – Participant 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 subsidized by the state 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 benefit 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. 

If you or your clients participate in the Way to Work Program, they can work to help save this program by extending it for a year. 

WHEN: Thursday August 26, 7:00 PM
WHERE: Philadelphia Unemployment Project, 112 N. Broad St. 11th Floor, Philadelphia PA

Pizza and child care will be provided at the meeting.  If you have questions please call 215-557-0822.

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