Fair Wages and Work Conditions
Kentucky unemployment rates have slightly fallen compared to the previous decade. The progress is meager compared to our possibilities. Kentucky residents need financial security, which can only be achieved through decent wages and steady employment. We observe a series of irregularities on the job market, all confirmed by the Kentucky Labor Cabinet. They need immediate fixing; otherwise, we are to suffer dire consequences. Investing in the Labor Market is crucial.
Issue: Over 19,000 people are seasonal workers who struggle financially when they either don’t work or commute to neighboring states. Our aim is long-term employment and job security for seasonal workers.
Solution: According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, the construction sector recorded significant growth in our state. I propose attracting more seasonal workers into construction. Being employed all year round will significantly increase their quality of life, finances and will contribute to building a stronger local economy and community. We have to monitor the functioning of businesses in the construction industry. Employers must pay prevailing wage rates, which doesn’t currently happen in many companies. It is an obligation that I will personally oversee and ensure it gets carried out properly by all companies within our state.
Issue: Overtime is not correctly paid.
Solution: All employees who work more than 40 hours a week are entitled to get overtime pay at least 1.5 times higher than their standard hourly rate. Most employers incorrectly calculate overtime pay or do not practice it at all.
Issue: The employer violates their employees right to take breaks from work.
Solution: We need to conduct more verifications and ensure that Kentucky residents take their 10 minutes of paid breaks every four hours and a 30 minutes lunch break. Making employees work with no breaks against their will is a frequent violation, and we need to stop this unhealthy trend before it expands even more.
Issue: Failing to pay the wage agreed upon, primarily upon the termination of a work contract.
Solution: We need to open a safe line of communication with employees and encourage them to report any workplace irregularities. We must establish trust and make sure employees are treated fairly.
- We need to allocate funds to help seasonal workers transition to full-time employment. Monetary resources from the state budget and donations must be invested in career orientation programs, temporary financial aid while transitioning between careers, and financial assistance and support.
- We need to organize external auditing and catch possible workplace violations: unpaid wages or overtime.
- We need to open a safe line of communication with employees through which we will receive direct information on irregularities.
Investing in long-term fair employment will prevent workforce immigration, increase the employers’ accountability, and ensure the local labor force works to its full potential, both to their benefit and for the wellbeing of our society as a whole.