Our Solutions: A Fair Wage for Essential Workers
Essential workers on the front lines of COVID-19 deserve fair wages. Food servers, grocery store cashiers, cooks, hospital custodians, and many other hardworking people have protected and fed us. Restaurant workers earn as little as $2.83 per hour. These essential workers are risking their lives and safety for each of us daily, and still taking home low pay. It is our duty to raise their pay to a least $15 an hour. Grocery, restaurant, and healthcare workers need a living wage just like they need personal protective equipment. The recovery must include them. The time is now to move pay to $15 an hour.
PA State System of Higher Education Freezes Tuition
Earlier this week, the Board of Governors of the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education (PASSHE) voted unanimously to freeze in-state tuition due to COVID-19. Basic in-state tuition for undergraduate students at the 14 PASSHE universities will remain $7,716 for the 2020-2021 academic year.
Cindy Shapira, chair of the Board of Governors, offered this statement: “While the coronavirus has impacted so much of our society and economy, what remains the same is our mission to provide quality, affordable, accessible public higher education.” For more information, read the PASSHE press release here.
Unemployment Compensation Tips
The Pennsylvania Department of Labor and Industry has received nearly 1.7 million Unemployment Compensation claims since mid-March. Due to extremely high daily calls, the Department is asking residents use its website to file claims and troubleshoot issues. Here are tips to help you receive quicker benefits:
- Review COVID-19-related FAQs;
- Check claims status online;
- Know what to do if you haven't received your debit card;
- Unsure if you’re eligible? Don’t wait – apply online now;
- **Wait at least three weeks before requesting a new PIN.
For Unemployment Compensation help, please send an email to email@example.com. Include your full name as it appears on your claim (including suffix), and the last four digits of your Social Security number. Please contact my office if you follow these steps and require additional assistance with your benefits.
City of Philadelphia Increases COVID-19 Penalties
The City of Philadelphia Board of Health has increased penalties for violations of COVID-19 stay-at-home orders. Fines have increased as follows:
- For businesses: $2,000 per violation
- For individuals: $500 per violation
Enforcement officers will have discretion to issue “code violation notices,” with smaller fines for violators who waive a court appeal. Notices will have fines of $700 for $2000 violations, and $250 fines for $500 violations. For more information on the new regulation, please go here. Stay at Home.
Emergency Cash Assistance Opens May 11th
The PA Department of Human Services will soon open the Emergency Cash Assistance Program (ECAP). Beginning on 11 May, certain women with children who have low or no income can apply for a one-time payment equal to two months of their “Family Size Allowance.” For a family of three, this payment will be $806. Eligibility requirements include:
- Household income must fall below 150% of the federal poverty level, or $32,580 for a family of three;
- A household member must have lost employment after 10 March 2020, or had hours or wages reduced by 50% for at least two weeks due to COVID-19;
- Families must include an expectant mother or a child under 18 years old;
- Resources on hand must not exceed $1,000.
The $25 million ECAP program will end 30 days after the projected start date of Monday, 11 May.
Please check the DHS website to apply.
Musical Mood Boost
Happy Friday! Here’s a song that will keep you dancing into the weekend. Mas Que Nada by Sergio Mendes and Brazil 66: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zeBDoNBNMro.
Be the Light,
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