What A Minimum Wage Hike Means For Childcare Workers

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While nearly 40 economies around the world have introduced leave or benefit policies to help parents with childcare, 100 do not have laws requiring men and women to receive equal pay for equal jobs, according to a 2021 World Bank report
While nearly 40 economies around the world have introduced leave or benefit policies to help parents with childcare, 100 do not have laws requiring men and women to receive equal pay for equal jobs, according to a 2021 World Bank report AFP / INDRANIL MUKHERJEE

A new report from the left-leaning Economic Policy Institute (EPI) revealed that the proposed raise in the minimum wage from $7.25 to $15 per hour would benefit 560,000 U.S. childcare workers.

“Child-care workers deserve to be paid a wage that better reflects the value of their work and allows them to care for their own families,” says Julia Wolfe, a co-author of the report and state economic analyst for EPI. “Low wages for child-care workers reinforce existing racial and gender inequality since both Black child-care workers and women are particularly likely to see their wages increase with a $15 minimum wage."

According to a press release from EPI, "the vast majority (95.4%) of child care workers who would get a raise are women, and 36.2% are Black or Hispanic."

Childcare workers average $11.65 an hour. Childcare workers became more expendable during the pandemic due to many parents keeping their children at home. 

There has been much debate on Capitol Hill about raising the minimum wage, which has remained at $7.25 since 2009. In January, Democrats reintroduced the Raise the Wage Act of 2021.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, more than 1.11 million hourly workers in 2020 earned wages that were at or below the minimum wage.

The chances of raising the minimum wage to $15 an hour remain bleak. “It doesn’t look like there’s a path to get to $15 an hour,” Will Marshall, president of the nonprofit think tank Progressive Policy Institute, told USA Today in February.

Meanwhile, advocates are pushing for initiatives that would include government subsidies and tax breaks so that childcare doesn’t become too expensive. According to a report by the think tank Center for American Progress, "costs for licensed child-care centers have increased an average of 47%."

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