RALEIGH (April 25, 2023) – The Raising Wages NC and NC Families Care Coalitions are joining with lawmakers to hold a legislative press conference at the North Carolina General Assembly (NCGA) in Raleigh on the morning of Wednesday, April 26. The press conference will precede a lobby day in which working people will advocate for proposed legislation to enact paid sick days and paid family and medical leave and raise the minimum wage.
What: Legislative press conference on paid leave, paid sick days, and an increased minimum wage featuring comments from lawmakers and impacted working North Carolinians
When: 9:30 a.m. on Wednesday, April 26
Where: Legislative Press Room, North Carolina General Assembly, 16 W. Jones St., Raleigh
A number of directly impacted working people and advocates from across North Carolina will be available to speak with the press immediately following the press conference. Interviewees available in English and Spanish.
Why: Paid family and medical leave is the norm in many other parts of the country and the world but, in North Carolina, the vast majority of working people have no access to paid leave for medical crises. While some workers have access to unpaid leave due to the Family and Medical Leave Act, many are ineligible, and many more cannot afford to take time off without pay. The NC Paid Family Leave Insurance Act (Senate Bill 418) establishes a state-level insurance program into which working people can contribute, allowing them to take leave with pay when needed for childbirth, serious illness, and family caregiving reasons.
Senator Sydney Batch (D-Wake), a primary sponsor of the NC Paid Family Leave Insurance Act, believes employee-centered policies are key to maintaining a strong economy and protecting public health. “These policies represent the essential foundation of what working people need to provide for themselves and their families. We can and must do better for the working people of North Carolina, and these bills are a major step in the right direction,” Batch said.
Currently, 30 states and Washington, D.C., have raised their minimum wages. Meanwhile, North Carolina workers have been stuck with a wage floor of $7.25 an hour and a $2.13 tipped hourly wage since 2008. As the cost of living continues to rise, these wages are not enough to afford basic necessities; the 2022 Living Income Standard for a household with one adult and one child is $24.25 an hour. NC Up Minimum Wages/No Subminimum or Exemptions (House Bill 620/Senate Bill 447) phases in a $ 15-an-hour minimum wage over a span of a few years, while phasing out the tipped minimum and eliminating exemptions for disabled and incarcerated workers.
For 16 years, a bill has been introduced in the NCGA to allow working people to earn paid sick time. Paid sick day policy is already in place in many other parts of the country, benefiting working people, their families, employers, and public health. During the pandemic, the consequences of inaction became clear, as states with paid sick day laws in place suffered far fewer cases of COVID-19 than other states. The Healthy Families & Workplaces/Paid Sick Days Act (House Bill 817) allows working North Carolinians to earn sick time as they work, accruing up to four days of leave a year for employees of small businesses and up to seven days annually for employees of large companies.
Raising Wages North Carolina is a coalition that organizes worker-centered campaigns to raise the wage floor to a livable wage, challenge systems of oppression, and build local organizing capacity among workers, businesses, and advocacy organizations.
NC Families Care is a coalition of over 30 diverse organizations advocating for family-friendly workplace policies for working North Carolinians and their families, including paid sick and safe days, paid family medical and parental leave, and pregnancy accommodations.