This will be a quick diary. Everyone is talking about increasing the minimum wage, $8.15, $9.00, $10.10, even $15.00 an hour. That's great and I'm all for it. However, I think if we're concerned with basic minimum workers rights it's time to state the obvious: we need more than just a minimum wage increase. There are several things the US needs just to keep up with the international consensus on workers rights. We are behind--pathetically so. We need a new "Worker's Bill of Rights" in this country. Here are some basic ideas of what I think should be on there:
- Paid Sick Days - at least a week earned over a year. This will help workers, especially mothers, and help ensure that no one should be fired for being sick or taking care of a sick loved one. This is supported by an overwhelming % of voters but hasn't even been mentioned in Washington for years.
- Paid FMLA - Several states including California, Rhode Island, & New Jersey have this now. Several more states are pushing for it. This can either be paid via unemployment/disability insurance or by requiring the employer to pay.
- Paid Vacation - We're the only first world nation that doesn't require employers to provide their employees with at least two weeks of paid vacation a year. That is just WRONG. People deserve a break every now and then.
- Paid Holidays - Workers should be able to take the day off (paid), take a substitute day off, or get paid time & 1/2 on holidays.
- Set Schedules - part time workers with erratic schedules find it nearly impossible to 1) hold a second job, 2) budget, and 3) arrange for child care. We need policies in place that end "just-in-time" scheduling and require schedules to be set at least a month in advance. This is an important topic that rarely gets mentioned.
- Increased Minimum Wage pegged to inflation - This one speaks for itself. You deserve to not live in poverty if you work full time (or the equivalent of full time at multiple part time jobs). We also need to peg the minimum wage to inflation so we don't have to do this run-around every few years.
What are your ideas?