March 19, 2010 - Volume VII Edition VI
A new report from the Joint Economic Committee (JEC), which I chair in this Congress, analyzed the demographics of workers who currently have access to paid sick leave and workers who would gain access to paid sick leave under the Healthy Families Act proposed by Senator Chris Dodd (S. 1152 in the Senate) and Representative Rosa DeLauro (H.R. 2460 in the House). It's a bill I've consponsored.
Using data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the JEC estimated that:
o As a result of the Healthy Families Act, at least 30.3 million additional workers would have access to paid sick leave.
o The Healthy Families Act would significantly expand access to paid sick leave for many of America’s most vulnerable workers, including lower-wage workers, women, and minorities.
o Almost half of the increased access to paid sick leave (14.7 million additional workers) would accrue to workers in the bottom wage quartile;
o Nearly half (13.3 million workers) of the increased access to paid sick leave would accrue to women workers; and,
o Almost one-third of the increased access to paid sick leave would accrue to minority workers, including 3.9 million additional African-American workers and 5.6 million additional Latino workers.
o The Healthy Families Act would also significantly expand access to paid sick leave for workers in professions with critical public health implications. For instance, 5.9 million additional food service and preparation workers would have access to paid sick leave due to the Healthy Families Act.
It’s wrong that millions of workers have to choose between their paycheck and their health. It’s also bad public policy: sick employees are less productive and can spread contagious illnesses to their co-workers and others with whom they interact. The Healthy Families Act would give 30 million workers, including those low-wage workers who are already living paycheck to paycheck, the peace of mind that they will still be able to keep their job if they get sick. Read the full JEC report on paid sick days here.
Another report released by the Joint Economic Committee (JEC),
“Understanding the Economy: Long-Term Unemployment in the African
American Community," shows that both the unemployment rate and the
duration of unemployment increased dramatically during the Great
Recession for African American workers.
The report draws from previously unpublished data from the Bureau of
Labor Statistics, and found that though African Americans make up 11.5
percent of the labor force, they account for 17.8 percent of the
unemployed, 20.3 percent of those unemployed for more than six months,
and 22.1 percent of the workers unemployed for a year or more.
Other key report findings include:
o From February 2007 to February 2010, unemployment among African
American men more than doubled, climbing from 9.0 percent to 19.0
percent. Among African American women, unemployment increased from 7.1
percent to 13.1 percent during the same time period.
o The median duration of unemployment for African American workers
also has doubled, increasing from less than three months before the
recession began to almost six months in February 2010. Forty-five
percent of unemployed African Americans have been out of work for six
months or more.
o Younger African American workers have faced particularly high rates
of unemployment. In February 2010, more than two out of five African
American teenagers were unemployed, compared to an overall teen
unemployment rate of slightly over 25 percent.
This is the first report in an in-depth series on long-term
unemployment. Facing higher rates of unemployment and longer spells of
unemployment than the overall population makes African American
unemployment particularly unsettling. But by better understanding the
unemployment challenges facing specific communities, Congress can design
and enact innovative policies that effectively address these challenges
and help people get back to work. This new report will help move us
down that path. You
can download the complete report on African American unemployment here.
I'm proud to report that a resident of the 14th District, Captain Tejdeep S. Rattan, has graduated from the U.S. Army Officer Basic Course at Fort Sam Houston, Texas. Last August, I'd written Defense Secretary Gates expressing concern that Rattan and other members of the Singh faith had been informed that they would only be permitted to continue serving if they abandoned their articles of faith-- namely, maintaining beards and long hair and wearing a turban.
I do not believe that any American should have to choose between his religion and service to our country, and urged the Secretary to take all necessary steps to ensure that Sikhs that may wish to serve our nation are able to maintain their articles of faith. After my letter, Secretary Gates and then-Secretary of the Army Geren, granted Cpt. Rattan an exemption from the Army's articles of faith restrictions.
Cpt. Rattan was recruited by the U.S. Arny during graduate school as a part ofthe Health Professionals Scholarship Program (HPSP) and he enlisted in the Army based on assurances provided by recruiters that they would accommodate their required Sikh articles of faith.
I'm glad I was able to help-- and proud that he has graduated the Officer's Basic Course.
The federal Hombeuyers' Tax Credit is set to expire April 30-- just a
few short weeks away. So if you are on the fence about buying a coop or
condo, this is a very good program to take advantage of now, regardless
of whether you're a first-time homebuyer or making a new purchase. To
qualify, a contract to buy must be signed by April 30 and the purchase
must close by June 30.
Under the program, first-time buyers can take up to $8,000 off their
taxes, and existing-home owners can take up to $6,500. What's more, when
the program was expanded late last year, allowable income limits were
raised. Now, individuals with adjusted gross incomes up to $125,000 and
married couples with adjusted gross incomes up to $225,000 qualify on
home purchases up to $800,000. If you owe less in taxes than the credit,
the Internal Revenue Service will send you a refund check. But you
should know that if you move within three years, you will have to pay
back the tax credit.
It's really one of the best deals around if you're a long-term
buyer-- but you'd better get going. Find out more at the IRS web
page on this topic.
CAROLYN B. MALONEY
Member of Congress
P.S. Please do not respond to this unattended email account, but instead click here if you would like to send me a message. I look forward to hearing from you!
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