July, 2015

New Report Shows Rise In Child Poverty After Great Recession

child povertyMore children in the U.S. are living in poverty after the Great Recession than during the economic downturn, according to a new report by the Annie E. Casey Foundation

According to the report, titled Kids Count: 2015 State Trends In Child Well-Being, about 22 percent of America’s children—or one in four—lived below the poverty line in 2013.  During the middle of the Great Recession in 2008, 18 percent of children in the U.S. lived below the poverty line.

The report is based on data gathered from federal agencies during 2008 to 2013 and examines factors that affect the well-being of children state-by-state, including economic well-being, education, health, and family and community. The report also examines racial disparities, and points out children of color are more likely to live in poverty than white children.

Living in poverty has a pernicious effect on the future prospects of America’s children.  According to the report, children who experience poverty are more likely encounter social and economic difficulties later in life, including experiencing poor health, becoming parents at a young age, dropping out of school and facing limited employment opportunities.

Legislation Is Needed to Curb Abusive Scheduling Practices

40 percentToo many workers in the retail sector are struggling to survive in low-wage, part-time jobs with unpredictable schedules that narrow their ability to move up the economic ladder.  “On-call” and last minute scheduling has become common practice at many retail stores—making daily tasks such as arranging for child care, pursuing an education, or even working a second job difficult to complete.

Economists and academics agree that access to education would narrow the current wealth gap, but millions of retail workers are unable to further their education because of scheduling conflicts at work.  Faced with losing more hours or even their jobs, many retail workers have been forced to drop classes and curtail their education in order to meet their employer’s demands.

Fortunately, Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) and Representative Rosa DeLauro (D-Conn.) are reintroducing legislation that would provide retail workers with modest safeguards and begin to curb the most abusive scheduling practices. The Schedules That Work Act includes a presumption that retail workers who need a schedule change due to child care, school, a second job, or medical needs will receive that change unless there is a bona fide business reason not to. The legislation also provides retail workers advance notice of their schedules and guarantees minimum pay when they are sent home from work before completing their entire shift.

This legislation is a good first step toward addressing workplace scheduling practices that have put millions of workers at a disadvantage, and the Retail Justice Alliance urges Congress to pass the Schedules That Work Act as soon as possible.

San Francisco Retail Workers Bill of Rights Takes Effect This Week

via biz journals

via biz journals

This week, food and non-food retail workers in San Francisco will have something to celebrate ahead of the July Fourth celebrations as the city’s Retail Workers Bill of Rights ordinance takes effect on July 3.

Last year, the Retail Workers Bill of Rights became law in San Francisco—making the city the first in the nation to address the industry specific problems retail workers face every day, including unpredictable scheduling.

The new law, which is a package of two separate pieces of legislation, requires retailers with at least 20 employees and 20 or more locations worldwide to give retail workers their schedules at least two weeks in advance.  The new law also discourages abusive on-call scheduling practices by requiring retailers to provide their employees with an extra two-to-four hours of pay if changes to schedules are made with less than 24 hours’ notice; promotes full-time work and access to hours; and protects retail workers from losing their jobs when their company is bought or sold.

Fair, flexible, and reliable scheduling is a simple way to ensure that retail workers are treated with dignity and respect.  San Francisco’s Retail Workers Bill of Rights serves as a model for how individual cities can tackle income inequality, and improve the quality of jobs in the retail sector so that workers in this growing industry have a pathway to the middle class.