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The White House’s Champions of Change: A Call to Eliminate the Tipped Minimum Wage

Posted by Hana Bajramovic, Intern | Posted on: July 28, 2014 at 09:44 am

On Tuesday, July 22, the White House celebrated the Raise the Wage Champions of Change, a group of policymakers, workers, and business owners fighting for an increase in the minimum wage.

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The Business Case For A Higher Minimum Wage

Posted by Tiffany Ray, Intern | Posted on: July 28, 2014 at 09:02 am

Opponents of raising the minimum wage say it’s a job killer that will cause businesses to fail and reduce employment overall.

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Pam Harris Nomination Moves Forward in Senate

Posted by Amy K. Matsui, Senior Counsel and Director of Women and the Courts | Posted on: July 25, 2014 at 11:45 am

Yesterday, the Senate voted to move forward on the nomination of Pamela Harris to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit. A confirmation vote is scheduled for 5:30 pm on Monday.

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Too Much At Risk: Ryan Poverty Plan Puts Children Needing Early Learning at Risk

Posted by Helen Blank, Director of Child Care and Early Learning | Posted on: July 25, 2014 at 08:44 am

Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) released his plan to combat poverty this morning. It flies in the face of the strong support that the public has expressed for increasing investments in early learning.

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Play it Again… No, Don’t: Ryan Poverty Plan Sticks to Theme of Consolidating Programs, No New Funding

Posted by Emily Wales, Fellow | Posted on: July 24, 2014 at 04:08 pm

Rep. Paul Ryan’s new plan [PDF] to fight poverty is out, and I’ll give him this: He’s staying the course. Not a course that works, mind you, but Ryan’s proposal sticks with a predictable path of – wait for it – block grants with little federal regulation, no new funding, elimination of some critical programs, and complaints that safety net programs discourage low-income families from working.

A new era? More like a blast from the past.

Ryan’s proposal states that it’s not about budget-cutting, and it “does not make judgments about an optimal level of spending.” Instead, he argues, this is about finding new ways to alleviate poverty. That’s hard to take seriously from someone who, as chairman of the House Budget Committee, has proposed past budgets that would deeply cut safety net programs. (Even the conservative National Review noted that Ryan’s budget proposals would go too far in cutting programs for low-income families: “But balancing the budget like Ryan did last time around . . . means cutting programs rather than fixing them or replacing them with wholly new ones that will better accomplish their goals.”) With this new poverty plan, Ryan seems to think you can have it both ways – draw up one plan to cut programs and another that ignores your plans to cut. Confusing, eh?

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Repeat Offender: NWLC Files Complaint Against Georgia School District for Ongoing Pregnancy Discrimination

Posted by Samantha Hall, Intern | Posted on: July 24, 2014 at 10:37 am

Today, the National Women’s Law Center (NWLC) filed a complaint against Georgia’s Washington-Wilkes Comprehensive High School (WWCHS) and Wilkes County Schools for violating Title IX, the federal civil rights law that protects students from sex discrimination, including pregnancy discrimination. The complaint alleges that WWCHS is violating Title IX in a number of ways, such as excluding pregnant students from receiving homebound instruction services made available to students with other medical conditions, and refusing to excuse pregnancy-related absences.

The complaint, filed with the U.S. Department of Education’s regional Office for Civil Rights in Atlanta, details the discrimination experienced by Mikelia Seals, a WWCHS student who was pregnant during the 2013-2014 school year. Mikelia was seven months pregnant when her doctor told her she needed to go on bed rest because she was at risk of premature delivery. Mikelia and her mother then asked Mikelia’s guidance counselor for homebound instruction. The guidance counselor told Mikelia that WWCHS doesn’t provide homebound instruction services (not true). So Mikelia did the best she could with the work she got from her individual teachers – that is, until the principal told her she would not get any credit for that work or for the semester because she had exceeded the allowable number of unexcused absences. She never had the chance to finish the semester and never received a report card. The new school year starts in a couple of weeks and she is worried that she will not be able to graduate in Spring 2015 as scheduled. She hopes to go to nursing school after she graduates.

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5 Years Too Long: Why It's Time to Raise the Federal Minimum Wage

Posted by Therese Salazar, Intern | Posted on: July 24, 2014 at 10:29 am

The last time the federal minimum wage went up was on July 24, 2009, when it reached its current level of $7.25 per hour. It might seem like regular adjustments would be the norm (ever heard of inflation, anyone?), but amazingly, legislation to raise the minimum wage has been passed only three times in the past 30 years. And even when those rare increases happen, the minimum wage steadily loses its purchasing power since it is not tied to inflation, leaving low-income workers struggling to make up the difference.

A lot has changed since American families last saw an increase in the federal minimum wage five years ago — from gas prices to college tuition — but  one thing has stayed the same: workers still deserve a meaningful raise that will help lift families out of poverty and keep up when the cost of living rises.  And this is an especially important issue for women, who make up about two-thirds of minimum wage workers. 

In honor of the 5-year anniversary, we debunk 5 minimum wage myths with the facts.

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Can Your Family Live on the Minimum Wage? Mine Can't.

Posted by Julie Vogtman, Senior Counsel | Posted on: July 24, 2014 at 10:18 am

Today is July 24th – five years to the day since the federal minimum wage last went up. At $7.25 per hour, the current minimum wage typically leaves a full-time worker with just $77 per week to spend after accounting for housing costs and taxes. To shed light on what that kind of income really means for working families, advocates across the country, including NWLC, are promoting the “Live the Wage” challenge. From today through July 30, participants in the challenge will attempt to live on a minimum wage budget – just $77 to cover food, transportation, and other expenses for the entire week.

The Live the Wage challenge presents an important opportunity to grasp the daily struggles facing low-wage workers, and I hope huge numbers participate. But for me, I know taking the challenge means failure on the very first day. That’s because I’m a new mom, just recently back at work, and I have a staggering new expense in my weekly budget: child care.

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