On the Issues:The American Worker

For decades the working man and woman in this nation has seen less and less rights compared to those in the industrialized world. My plans for the working person is this:

Federal requirements for Vacation Pay and Breaks

The United States is one of the few nations without federal requirements for vacation pay and mandatory breaks for workers. If elected I will push for bipartisan legislation to ensure every full-time worker in the country is guaranteed 2 weeks of paid vacation time a year. Any company that already meets this requirement will see tax breaks and any company that goes above this will receive tax incentives to keep it up. Small businesses under 25 workers will be expected to meet the part-time worker requirement of one week of vacation pay.

There are no federal requirements for lunch breaks, and for far too long companies have decided to make their employees work longer hours in order to make up the pay for these breaks. I propose that every full-time worker in America is given a full hour for their lunch, paid in full by their employer. Part-time workers would be expected to be given 30 minutes for their lunch, and this would extend to small businesses and contractors.

Federal requirements for Sick Time

For far too long this nation has had people forced to go to work due to a lack of sick time or fear that their hours would be cut by their bosses for taking time away from work. If elected, every full-time worker in America would be given 2 week of sick pay and every part-time worker would be given at least one week. For those in the food service industries they would be given a full 2 weeks regardless of their work status to ensure we have workers who are not spreading disease and are able to rest and recoup.

Federal Requirements for Parental Leave

The United States falls behind the entire industrialized world in parental leave for new parents. Countless people have had to decline taking time off due to fear of being replaced at work or, in many cases, not getting paid while not being at work.

If elected, I would update the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) to ensure that the 12 weeks guaranteed to workers at businesses with over 50 people is paid for both women and men. I would also provide grants for small businesses to help pay their employees to take the time off. Tax breaks would be given to companies, large and small, who provide for these programs on their own. Companies found to be in violation of this law, or to force employees to spread out this time in non-essential jobs, will be fined.

Raising the Minimum Wage

When the Minimum Wage was created, it was done with the purpose of ensuring that everyone working full time in America was able to afford at the very least a 1 bedroom apartment, food, and utilities. It was designed to be the bare minimum for what people need to live. Adjusting for inflation, the minimum wage has remained stagnant while the top 1% have gotten richer and richer. We have people working full-time in retail and fast food jobs that are forced to rely on public assistance since their employers refuse to pay them a living wage.

That is why I fully support raising the minimum wage for workers in America to $15 an hour and will sign onto any legislation that would do just that.

An End to Worker Hour Abuse

Employers in recent years have relied more and more on "on call" scheduling. This means employees are rarely given consistent schedules or even advance notice of their schedules more than a week in advance. These practices make it harder for people to schedule doctor visits, day care for their children, and increases stress. Workers may even have as little as 4 hours of sleep between two 8 hour shifts due to this practice. In turn employees are overworked and physically exhausted for low pay.

If elected, I will work so for those in the retail and fast food sector to have a 10 hour rest period between any 2 shifts that are at least 4 hours long, and 8 hours rest between any 2 shifts shorter than 4 hours. Employees would be able to opt into a reduced rest period if those choose to do so up to 2 times a week. Additionally, employers would need to prove there was an emergency of some sort if they required an employee to work with a reduced break period.

Safer Working Conditions

While there are multiple laws on the books to protect workers from unsafe working conditions, I will push for legislation to make sure mold levels are taken into account, including black mold and that airborne levels of mold can not go above a certain level.