Tuesday, May 8, 2012

PathWays PA E-Newsletter: May 7, 2010

SUPPORT EARNED SICK DAYS IN PHILADELPHIA

The common cold. Chicken pox. The stomach flu.

Besides making you sick and risking your health, these illnesses have something else in common: they could make you lose your job.

In Philadelphia, over 200,000 workers have no access to earned sick days when they or their family members come down with an illness. Whether a child is running a fever or a waitress has been hit by a truck door on her way to work, the choice for these employees is the same: to either put someone's health at risk or to jeopardize their own economic security.

But there is a solution. Cities across the country have passed bills ensuring that all workers have the ability to earn sick days on the job. Giving access to earned sick days:
Where do you come in? Sign this petition in support of earned sick days legislation in Philadelphia. Then, visit earnedsickdaysphilly.com to learn how you can take a stand for earned sick days that are fair to everyone.


Federal Policy Update 

HELP STOP CUT TO HEALTH CARE, FOOD AND OTHER VITAL PROGRAMS

The House will vote on a package that includes $261 billion in cuts over 10 years. Some examples of cuts include:
  • All 46 million people receiving food stamps (SNAP) will see their monthly assistance reduced; 2 million will be denied SNAP help altogether. 
  • 280,000 low-income children will not get free school meals. 
  • Millions of people will lose Medicaid services. 
  • 350,000 will go without subsidies to help pay their health insurance premiums. 
  • Hundreds of thousands of abused or neglected children and seniors will go without essential care and protection. 
Click here for more information about these cuts.

These ten years of cuts have been proposed in a budget procedure called "reconciliation." Reconciliation was mandated after the Super Committee and Congress failed to come to an agreement on the budget last year. This House bill avoids cuts in the Pentagon budget (about $55 billion).

Please email your Representative and urge him or her to protect vital programs.

THIS MOTHER’S DAY MOMS NEED PAID SICK DAYS

Nearly 80% of low-wage workers—and nearly 40% of private sector workers--don’t have access to a single paid sick day. What are they supposed to do when they land in the ER and are faced with losing a day’s pay, or possibly even their jobs, because they’re hurt or sick and can’t go to work? Talk about painful. You can help by adding your name to MomsRising’s petition calling on Congress to pass the Healthy Families Act.

The Healthy Families Act (H.R. 1876, S. 984) would set an important national standard for paid sick days. Its passage would be a critical step toward meeting the health and financial needs of working families. The Healthy Families Act would:
  • Allow workers in businesses with 15 or more employees to earn up to seven job protected paid sick days each year to be used to recover from their own illness, access preventive care, or provide care for a sick family member. 
  • Allow workers who are victims of domestic violence, stalking, or sexual assault to use their paid sick days to recover or seek assistance related to an incident 
  • Include a simple method for calculating accrued sick time. Workers would earn a minimum of one hour of paid sick time for every 30 hours worked, up to 56 hours (seven days) per year, unless the employer selects a higher limit. 
  • Allow employers to require certification if an employee uses more than three paid sick days in a row. For victims of domestic violence, the certification may be from a law enforcement officer or victim advocate 
  • Allow employers to continue using their existing policies, as long as they meet the minimums set forth in the Healthy Families Act (for time, types of use, and method of use) 
 So forget flowers. For Mother's Day, help moms across America get paid sick days by urging Congress to support the Healthy Families Act.

State Policy Updates 

SUPPORT ADVOCATES IN HARRISBURG TODAY

Right now people from all over Pennsylvania with the PA Cares for All Coalition calling on state legislators to restore funding for critically needed programs for vulnerable citizens, including General Assistance, health care, and human services programs.

The current proposed State budget will eliminate General Assistance that goes to:
  • Support orphaned and abandoned children.
  • Help victims of domestic violence to escape their abuser. 
  • Help those afflicted with a serious medical condition like cancer, a stroke, or an addiction. 
  • Help for those waiting to be approved for Social Security disability 
In addition, according to the Coalition, the proposed State budget would cut human services funding by 20%, defund HEMAP (the loan program that helps the unemployed save their homes from foreclosures), and make it harder for seniors, disabled persons, and the unemployed to get food stamps.

If you couldn’t make it to Harrisburg today and want to support those who are, send a message to your state legislators and urge them to fund critical programs needed for vulnerable citizens.

KEEP PREDATORY PAYDAY LOANS OUT OF PA

Payday loans are an abusive form of lending that traps borrowers into a long-term cycle of debt at rates of 300% annual interest and higher. Triple-digit interest payday loans have long been illegal in Pennsylvania, whether made at storefronts or online.

But now out-of-state payday lenders like Cash America and Check N' Go are lobbying to legalize predatory payday loans in Pennsylvania.

HB 2191 would roll back our existing consumer protections and allow predatory payday loans carrying rates of 300% or higher. The bill permits a product that is a debt trap by design—it does NOT protect consumers. In states that allow payday loans at 300% interest or more – just as HB 2191 seeks to do, the typical borrower is trapped in debt for over 200 days of the year.

We must stop HB 2191 from becoming law.  Take action now to keep predatory payday lenders from flooding our communities. 

For more information, check out www.stoppaydayloanspa.com 

Information and Events

MAY IS FOSTER CARE AWARENESS MONTH

May is National Foster Care Month. A variety of resources are available to learn more about helping children and youth in care. At fostercaremonth.org you can learn about foster care and nationwide events occurring throughout the month under the mission of “Changing a Lifetime.” The Child Welfare Information Gateway and AdoptUSKids also have resources for raising awareness throughout May.

To raise awareness about the importance of connections for children and youth in foster care, each day in May, the Children Welfare League of America (CWLA) will post on their Facebook page a photo and brief bio of a person who has been touched by or works in foster care services. Please feel free to repost the bios and help shine a light on children in foster care who need the healing power of connections to ensure their resilience and healthy development.

SOFT SKILLS TO PAY THE BILLS — MASTERING SOFT SKILLS FOR WORKPLACE SUCCESS

The United States Department of Labor is hosting the "Skills to Pay the Bills: Mastering Soft Skills for Workplace Success." This is a curriculum developed by the Office of Disability Employment Policy focused on teaching "soft" or workforce readiness skills to youth, including youth with disabilities.

Created for youth development professionals as an introduction to workplace interpersonal and professional skills, the curriculum is targeted for youth ages 14 to 21 in both in-school and out-of-school environments. The basic structure of the program is comprised of modular, hands-on, engaging activities that focus on six key skill areas: communication, enthusiasm and attitude, teamwork, networking, problem solving and critical thinking, and professionalism.

For more information visit: http://www.dol.gov/odep/topics/youth/softskills/.

JEVS CAREER GATEWAY

JEVS Human Services of Philadelphia has developed a customized online tool for job seekers in the State of Pennsylvania. Finding a job involves many components. The Career Gateway Job Seekers Guide is a free resource that provides users with a step-by-step process to assist with career management, self-assessment, care exploration, goal setting, assistance researching and locating educational programs and financial aid, as well as to provide tips and exercises to assist with networking and interview preparation.

For more information visit: http://www.gatewaytocareers.com/.

ECONOMIC JUSTICE FORUMS

POWER will conduct a series of Economic Justice Forums throughout the city in June. Click below to register:
 POWER will seek commitments from City Councilmembers to work to increase access to, quality of, and living wages for jobs to be created by the $6 Billion Airport Expansion project and other publicly-subsidized projects and contracts in Philadelphia. They also plan to lift up other job growth opportunities in our city and to call on city leaders to help expand access to those opportunities for our communities. Several City Councilmembers are confirmed to attend these Forums and all are being invited. For more information and updates, visit our website or Facebook page.

THE ESSENTIAL HEALTH BENEFITS PACKAGE W. ANTOINETTE KRAUS OF PHAN PHAN's

Tuesday Night Policy Call Series continues tomorrow with our their Antoinette Kraus on the line to talk about the essential health benefits package. How comprehensive will health care coverage be in Pennsylvania? That will depend largely on how our essential health benefits package is designed. Join the call to learn more!

WHEN: Tuesday, May 8th from 6:00 - 7:00 PM

RSVP here

Anyone can join these calls! PHAN always begin with a quick overview and leaves time for questions. Just RSVP here to receive an email the number and passcode to join the call.

HOMELAND SECURITY SECRETARY JANET NAPOLITANO ON DHS EFFORTS TO COMBAT HUMAN TRAFFICKING

Please join the Center for American Progress for a special presentation: 

WHEN: May 9, 2012, 10:00am – 11:00am
RSVP to attend this event or Watch Live Online

Secretary Napolitano will participate in a special conversation at the Center for American Progress with CAP President Neera Tanden, as part of our Women’s Leadership Series. She will reflect on her career in law enforcement and public service and what she sees as the challenges and opportunities facing our next generation of leadership in homeland security.

Her long career in law enforcement – as a U.S. Attorney, state attorney general, governor, and now as Secretary of Homeland Security –is reflected in the Department of Homeland Security’s wide-ranging responsibilities. Importantly, it is mirrored in current efforts to combat human trafficking. Every year, men, women, and children are exploited in our country for commercial sex or forced labor. DHS works with other federal agencies and law enforcement partners across the country and around the world to combat this crime and bring traffickers to justice.

For more information, call 202-682-1611.

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