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Julie Vogtman, Senior Counsel and Director of Income Support Policy

Julie Vogtman

Julie Vogtman is Director of Income Support Policy and Senior Counsel for the Family Economic Security Program at the National Women's Law Center. She works on a range of issues involving economic support for low-income women and their families, including minimum wage policies, unemployment benefits, and child care assistance. She also contributes to the Center’s work on federal budget and tax policies. Prior to joining the Center in 2010, Ms. Vogtman was an associate with Covington & Burling LLP in Washington, DC. She is a graduate of Furman University and Georgetown University Law Center.

My Take

Paycheck Fairness, Part II — Raise the Minimum Wage!

Posted by Julie Vogtman, Senior Counsel and Director of Income Support Policy | Posted on: September 11, 2014 at 09:55 am

Yesterday, a majority of the Senate voted to proceed to debate on the Paycheck Fairness Act, a bill that would strengthen current laws against wage discrimination and make it easier for women to ensure that their employers are paying them fairly. A vote on the merits of this bill is long overdue, and Senate passage would be a critically important step forward.

But the Paycheck Fairness Act is not the only bill that could help close the gap between women’s and men’s earnings — which hasn’t budged in a decade, as women working full time, year round are still typically paid just 77 cents for every dollar paid to their male counterparts. One reason for this persistent wage gap is that women are overrepresented in low-wage jobs: for starters, they make up two-thirds of minimum wage workers. Another bill, the Fair Minimum Wage Act, would boost pay for these workers by gradually raising the federal minimum wage from $7.25 to $10.10 per hour, increasing the tipped minimum cash wage from $2.13 per hour to 70 percent of the minimum wage, and indexing these wages to keep up with inflation. 

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Five Reasons to Raise the Minimum Wage for Tipped Workers

Did you know that in most states, when you tip your waitress, you’re actually paying her wages?

That’s because the federal minimum wage law allows employers of tipped workers to pay them as little as $2.13 per hour (the “tipped minimum cash wage”), and count your tips to fulfill their obligation to pay their workers the minimum wage. While employers are legally required to make up the difference between $2.13 and the regular minimum wage if tips fall short, studies show [PDF] that all too often employers don’t do this. This is particularly a problem for women, who are two-thirds of tipped workers.

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

Posted by Julie Vogtman, Senior Counsel and Director of Income Support Policy | Posted on: July 24, 2014 at 11:18 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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The President - And the American People - Call for a Higher Minimum Wage

Posted by Julie Vogtman, Senior Counsel and Director of Income Support Policy | Posted on: January 29, 2014 at 12:33 pm

Did you catch the President’s State of the Union address last night?  I’m glad I did. He set forth an ambitious but pragmatic agenda to reverse the trends of widening economic inequality and stalling wage growth and upward mobility. Many of the solutions he proposed – like expanding access to affordable, quality pre-K and promoting more family-friendly workplaces – would particularly benefit women. The same is true of another policy for which the President advocated forcefully: raising the minimum wage.

As the President observed, the federal minimum wage of $7.25 per hour “is worth about twenty percent less than it was when Ronald Reagan [took office].” Full-time minimum wage earnings amount to just $14,500 in a year, leaving a mother with two children thousands of dollars below the poverty line. Today’s low minimum wage especially harms women and their families, since women are nearly two-thirds of minimum wage workers – and about two-thirds of tipped workers like restaurant servers, for whom the federal minimum cash wage has been frozen at just $2.13 an hour for 23 years.

Last night, President Obama committed to using his executive authority to advance the minimum wage by issuing an order requiring that workers on new federal services contracts be paid at least $10.10 an hour, “because if you cook our troops’ meals or wash their dishes, you shouldn’t have to live in poverty.” And he called on business leaders and state and local governments to do what they can to raise wages, too. But he also recognized that only an act of Congress can ensure that the minimum wage is raised for all workers across the country.

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Update: Senate Moves Forward with Unemployment Insurance Bill - But Critical Votes Still to Come

Posted by Julie Vogtman, Senior Counsel and Director of Income Support Policy | Posted on: January 08, 2014 at 11:10 am

Yesterday, 60 Senators voted to proceed to debate on a bill to extend the federal emergency unemployment insurance program for three months. This measure is urgently needed to restore a lifeline to the 1.3 million long-term unemployed workers who lost their benefits over the holidays, and today’s bipartisan vote is an important step in the right direction.

Final passage of the bill, however, is still far from assured. Amendments will be considered in the Senate that could undermine the bill by, for example, requiring jobless workers to meet burdensome new conditions to continue receiving benefits. Some Senators will likely propose offsetting the cost of the bill with cuts to other programs that low-income families depend on. And the bill will still need to garner 60 votes to pass in the Senate, then pass the House, before it can reach the President’s desk.

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