FRANKFORT, Ky. – As part of a coordinated national effort to fight for working families, Kentucky Democrats are highlighting House Bills 178, 179, 196, 264, 303 and 456, which are all bills designed to protect workers and grow our economy.
“We are doing everything we can to fight for working families in Kentucky,” said Rep. Sannie Overly, chair of the Kentucky Democratic Party. “We’re talking about fair wages, basic protections for workers, as well as opportunities to grow and enhance our workforce and our economy. Unfortunately, we have seen the new majority make it a priority to support corporations and help the wealthiest few instead of working families across Kentucky.”
House Bill 178
HB 178 would raise Kentucky’s minimum wage to $8.80 an hour on Aug. 1. Then, it would increase to $10.35 beginning in August 2018. It would go up to $13.45 in August 2020, and would go up for the final time in August 2021 to $15 an hour. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, more than half of Kentucky’s minimum wage earners are 25 years of age and older, more than 15 percent have children, and more than 62 percent are women.
House Bill 179
HB 179 clarifies the right to pay equity in Kentucky, and would prohibit wage differentials for employees who perform equivalent jobs.
House Bill 196
HB 196 would help Kentucky combat the misclassification of employees in the construction industry. Employers that misclassify employees as independent contractors cut costs by not paying payroll taxes, Social Security and workers’ compensation coverage. Studies show misclassification of employees costs Kentucky taxpayers millions of dollars each year.
House Bill 264
HB 264 seeks to codify the “Work Ready” scholarship program into law. The program provides free tuition for eligible students to attend a state community and technical college for two years, along with Kentucky’s four year public and private institutions that offer associate degrees.
“The Work Ready program helps students and employers alike,” said Rep. Rick Rand. “One of the first things out-of-state companies evaluate when they decide to locate here is our workforce, and this program helps give our workers the skills they need to succeed. Let’s make sure this program is part of our law and not just an executive order.”
House Bill 303
HB 303 would require six weeks of paid maternity leave for companies with more than 50 employees.
“Standing up for Kentucky workers starts with supporting their families,” said Rep. James Kay. “Our values say we put family first, and as good Democrats, we believe that it’s also good for the employer and the economy. When working mothers can recover and bond with their newborns without risking their financial security, Kentucky will be a better place to work and raise a family.”
House Bill 456
HB 456 ensures that eligible workers receive fair compensation for the overtime they work.
“Restoring overtime protections is a way to put more money in the pockets of hardworking, middle-class families, helping create an economy that works for everyone, not just the wealthy few,” said Rep. Chris Harris. “Too often, workers who are paid by a low salary instead of per hour are required to put in such long work days that they end up making below minimum wage.”