Family and Home Network has long advocated for policies that recognize and compensate unpaid caregiving. We have endorsed a Congressional bill that would relieve the financial stress on our nation's most vulnerable families - and increase parents' choices about how to provide care for their children. Easing the financial stress on families is a very powerful way to help parents and children!
In pandemic times - and at all times - caring for children is an essential activity, whether it’s done by child care professionals, educators, or parents themselves. Frail elderly people and adults with disabilities often also need care; unpaid family members often provide that care - especially among Black people, Indigenous people, and People of Color. This essential caregiving activity is not counted as ‘work’ in our measures of GDP – a decision made by male economists in the 1950s (see Marilyn Waring on YouTube “GDP Measures the Wrong Things.”)
In response to a press release Family and Home Network sent last September about our Campaign for Inclusive Family Policies we connected with Selma James of the Wages for Housework Campaign, Margaret Prescod for Women of Color in the Global Women's Strike and the Global Women's Strike and Phoebe Jones, Global Women's Strike (GWS). We met with them online, and in March, Peggy O'Mara spoke at a GWS webinar - From Coronavirus and Beyond: Valuing Caregiving (Peggy was the Publisher and Editor of Mothering magazine for decades; she is an independent journalist and consultant to FAHN).
GWS issued an Open Call to Governments - Care Income Now! and Family and Home Network endorsed this in early April 2020.
This Spring, GWS worked with the Poor People's Campaign to get components of Care Income Now! added to the Poor People's Justice Jubilee Legislative and Policy Platform (Section II #2).
Recently Congressional Representative Gwen Moore and Representative Marcia Fudge, joined by dozens of cosponsors, introduced The Worker Relief and Credit Reform Act, WRCR HR5271. It redefines 'workers' to include unpaid caregivers and students, making them eligible for the Earned Income and Child Tax Credit. (At this time there is no companion bill in the Senate.)
There is hope to get this legislation - or parts of it - included in the House's stimulus bill(s). Time is short - Congress ia back in session, but only for a couple of weeks.
“Arguably, the most important public policies we have in the United States have come from nonprofit organizations lobbying for their causes…. These achievements may be largely attributed to the strong leadership of executive directors and board members who knew that direct service alone would not change the flawed or missing public policies that contributed to the problems their organizations were trying to alleviate.” (David F. Arons in Nonprofit Governance and Management)
Global Women's Strike, Women of Color Global Women's Strike and the Every Mother is a Working Mother Network have issued this call for organizations and individuals to endorse the legislation -- having broad support for it can help Congressional staff and Representatives push for it:
Endorse the Worker Relief and Credit Reform Act (also copied below)
Family and Home Network has endorsed this bill. If you know other organizations you could ask to support it, please do! Endorsements from individuals are also welcome!
Here is the call for support issued by the Global Women's Strike, Women of Color Global Women's Strike and the Every Mother is a Working Mother Network:
The pandemic demonstrates how caregivers serve as frontline and essential workers, filling the gaps in our health care system. Even before this crisis, around 43.5 million Americans worked as unpaid caregivers to their children, aging parents or adult family members with a disability. The WRCR Act updates the definition of work to recognize the uncompensated care these individuals provide, which is estimated at $500 billion annually. – from the Letter to Leadership re. the Worker Relief and Credit Reform Act (WRCR HR 5271)
Support Money for Unwaged Caregivers!
Endorse the Worker Relief and Credit Reform Act!
Policymakers are starting to take note of what we’ve always known – that mothers and other unwaged primary caregivers are also essential workers, counted on for everyone’s survival but not paid for this work.
The Worker Relief and Credit Reform Act, WRCR HR5271, introduced by Reps Gwen Moore (WI) & Marcia Fudge (OH), would expand the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) to make it fully refundable and available to more people, including mothers and other unwaged primary caregivers, and get cash directly into mothers’ and families hands. It redefines workers to include unpaid family caregivers & students.
Highlights of WRCR HR 5271:
· Treats caregiving and higher education as work:
o It provides a credit to unpaid family caregivers & low-income students
o They would be treated as though they have enough income to qualify for the maximum credit.
· Makes the credit fully refundable: you don’t need to have a waged job or income to get it.
· You can get this credit on top of other benefits, such as TANF.
· Increases amount: provides up to $4,000 for a single filer, $8,000 for married filers.
· Gives the option of getting the payment monthly: although at a reduced 75%.
· Expands the age range: eligibility starts at age 18 (instead of 25), and extends to employed people older than 65 (instead of only to 65 and under).
· Dramatically decreases poverty: it would benefit nearly half of people in the US (154 million), and cut the poverty rate by one-third.
· Goes hand in hand with the American Family Act and other bills making the Child Tax Credit fully refundable and increasing the amount.
As massive numbers rally against institutional racism including economic inequality, it is important to underscore the impacts on caregivers of color. 57% of Black caregivers and 45% of Latina caregivers spend 30 hours/week on caregiving. That’s a full time job! 33% of white caregivers spend 20 hours a week (Family Caregiver Alliance). The WRCR Act, introduced by members of the Congressional Black Caucus, reflects in part the global call for a Care Income for People & Planet.
We urge you to join with us in supporting this historic bill, help alleviate the poverty of women and children, particularly but not only Black, Indigenous, Latinx and other women and children of color, and finally recognize mothers and other unwaged caregivers as workers with financial support. It is a green bill in that it focusses on the caring of people, which in turn will be a resource for family farmers and those working to stop environmental degradation. [See here for a companion bill to improve the uptake of the EITC to reach the 20% of those eligible who don’t claim.]
Call for support issued by the Global Women's Strike, Women of Color Global Women's Strike and the Every Mother is a Working Mother Network
East: 215-848-1120 firstname.lastname@example.org
West: 323-276-2833 email@example.com