Unfinished Business

American Families Need More Economic Security. These Developments Could Help.

Morgan Spears, Emerson National Hunger Fellow
The Leadership Conference Education Fund

As Dr. King stated, “change does not roll in on the wheels of inevitability, but comes through continuous struggle.” And that’s how progress on matters of economic security is happening in the United States today.

Even as some states move backward – by passing, for example, laws that block cities from raising their minimum wage – there are reasons to be encouraged. Here are just some of the recent developments related to minimum wage increases, paid family leave policies, consumers’ rights, and workers’ rights.

Minimum Wage

This past month, California and New York passed historic pieces of legislation that aim to increase the minimum wage to $15 by 2022.

For more information, read Why Fight for $15 is a Civil and Human Rights Issue.

Paid Leave

In February, the Department of Labor (DOL) proposed a rule implementing Executive Order 13706 (EO), Establishing Paid Sick Leave for Federal Contractors.

Read comments from The Leadership Conference here.

In addition the DOL’s rule, more states are passing progressive paid leave laws that allow workers to be compensated for sick and/or family leave.

Payday Lending

The payday lending industry has a business plan that explicitly preys on disenfranchised communities and traps them in debt.

  • This spring the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, (CFPB), is expected to come out with a rule limiting the impact of predatory payday loans on communities as an effort to protect consumers and combat the debt trap.

Workers’ Rights

DOL proposed a rule on Defining and Delimiting the Exemptions for Executive, Administrative, Professional, Outside Sales, and Computer Employees.

Read comments from The Leadership Conference here.

Also, DOL proposed to update the nondiscrimination and equal opportunity regulations implementing Section 188 of the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA). These updates not only align with current law, but they also address current workforce issues.

  • This rule has the potential to increase access to services, benefits, training, programs, and employment through the workforce development system for women (particularly low-income women and women of color), LGBT people, people with disabilities, and older workers.
  • Many civil rights organizations believe the rule can be strengthened by:
    • Addressing sex discrimination in the workplace and in the workforce development system
    • Addressing discrimination based on disability in the workplace and in the workforce development system
    • Addressing age discrimination in the workplace and in the workforce development system

Read comments from The Leadership Conference here.


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