A 2005 report examining the employment status of single mothers in the New York City established that although more single mothers were working than was initially the case, they acquired minimal wages and government support was less. Another recent research found out that 80% did not receive employee paid health benefits for themselves and their children. Even for those with employee coverage, 38% received no benefits from Medicaid, Child Health Plus or Family Health Plus.
The research also established that more than 50% of the single parents did not get even a single day of paid sick leave and approximately 61% had no paid vacation. The health of most of them is compromised as more than a third was unable to acquire needed medical care as they could not afford it. The reform seems to have lost focus and thus there is need to change it. The government should not pride itself in reducing its expenditure on benefits while her citizens’ health is at stake or is being compromised.
The fact that most of the affected by this problem are from the minority groups may see the issue linked with discrimination or bias on the basis of color. If the jobs offered them training and experience they would be able to get opportunities in areas without high turnover, low wages and more on job benefits. Social support ought to continue if they are to advance. Opportunities to obtain the required skills to earn higher wages is the only way that the large gap between the merge salaries they earn and the basic needs they have to satisfy.
The government ought to have put more effort in improving the skills that such workers had before encouraging the shift from welfare to work. Without proper education such workers have to face remarkable challenges in the job market. The supply of subsidized child care is also very minimal compared to the demand for it. Only 19% of low income parents’ access child care subsidies a clear indication of the economic challenges that they have to face. Without the benefits the welfare reforms can be viewed as a disincentive to work. It is difficult and tough for single mothers to work and hold their jobs.
At times they are forced to make tough choices for instance loosing a job and a days pay to attend to their children medical needs. The strict rules and regulations found in most of their working environments may see them lose they jobs if they take a day off. The issue of increasing the federal minimum wages is cited as an effective way of solving the fate of low income earners who increased significantly after the welfare reforms. It is however recommended that although the wage increases from $5. 15 to $7. 25 employees who had an opportunity of getting tips like waiters would have it reduced by $3.
The Earned Income Tax Credit is also advocated for along with increased minimal wage as an effort of solving the predicament of low wage earners. It refers to a refundable tax to low income earners and it would effectively increase their incomes. It affects a certain proportion of tax liability and this way their disposable incomes would be higher. They would be in a better position to acquire the essentials of life without much struggle. This approach is mostly advocated for by most economists on the ground that it would be an incentive to work in the sense that it involves the increment of financial rewards to work.
Low income earners would be motivated to work to attain higher benefits as they qualify for more credits. It is an effective approach as it addresses the standards of living of the poor and it would yield better results than the welfare reforms alone. The welfare system is inefficient and ineffective in the sense that even those who are eligible for food stamps do not get them. It is not an incentive to work either as the benefits accrued are not enough to lead better lifestyles. Poverty has not been effectively addressed.
Single mothers need child care to be assimilated effectively in the competitive job market but the reforms do not provide it. Acquisition of the appropriate skills is also an important aspect to be considered if the welfare is to yield positive effects not only on the single parents in question but to the whole economy as a whole.
Beth Shulman. ‘The Betrayal of Work H. W Low-Wage Jobs Fail More Than 30 Million Americans’. Retrieved on13th June 2008 from http://www. Lowwagework. Org/Shulman. Htm