A new report from the Center for Economic and Policy Research, Expanding Family and Medical Leave to Small Firms, takes a look at one of the most common arguments against requiring small businesses to comply with the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA)—that doing so would provide an undue burden on those small businesses. Not surprisingly, the anti-working families’ argument is dismissed by the evidence.
When you hear a conservative argument as to why we can't pass a policy that helps working families, you are pretty safe in assuming that it won't stand up to closer examination. In today's example, the topic is paid sick days. Extremist pro-business groups that oppose requiring that paid sick days be offered to employees often make the cynical argument that if paid sick days are offered, workers will exploit and abuse them and that will hurt businesses. The real-world evidence, not surprisingly, says otherwise.
A lot of new research about the economy has been released in recent weeks from the Economic Policy Institute (EPI), the Center for Economic and Policy Research (CEPR) and the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities (CBPP). Here are the most important recent reports.
A new report from the Center for Economic and Policy Research (CEPR) shows the country needs to increase union membership significantly, create universal health care, a universal retirement system (beyond Social Security), expand college attainment and achieve gender pay equity to create more "good" jobs in the United States.
In real sciences, when a researcher claims to have made a major discovery, the researcher has to make the data he or she used public and other scientists immediately test it to see if it can be replicated. The results aren't accepted as valid, let alone acted on or relied on, in fields where people could get hurt—like medicine or engineering—until they are tested. And if you withhold the data from your colleagues, you are not a scientist, you are a quack. And then there is economics.
In his State of the Union address, President Barack Obama joined a growing chorus of voices demanding that the national minimum wage be raised. Tuesday, Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA) and Representative George Miller (D-Calif.) announced they will introduce the Fair Minimum Wage Act of 2013.
According to the Center for Economic and Policy Research, more than 40 million Americans work in jobs where they have no access to paid sick days. In addition to the potential loss of wages and jobs for working families, the lack of paid sick days forces many people to go to work when they are contagious and get co-workers and customers sick and decreases productivity for workers who show up unable to perform to their normal level of ability. More and more cities and states are recognizing the realities of the damage having a workforce without paid sick leave does to workers and to the economy.
At one time it was an economic tenet for America's worker: Work smarter, better, faster and harder and you’ll reap the rewards. That’s exactly what America's workers have done for the past four decades plus. But while worker productivity has soared, workers’ wages have been tightly tethered to the ground. So much that economist Dean Baker writes:
If the minimum wage had risen in step with productivity growth [since 1968], it would be over $16.50 an hour today. That is higher than the hourly wages earned by 40 percent of men and half of women.