Child Care Workers Request Eligibility for $15 Minimum Wage

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SACRAMENTO -- A broad coalition of anti-poverty groups, parents and daycare workers said they are seeking reforms of the state's child care procedures, which includes an effort to obtain a $15 per hour minimum wage for daycare workers.

The minimum wage bill signed by Gov. Jerry Brown doesn't apply to many low-wage daycare workers because they are considered private contractors. The group fears that they are being undervalued and many will leave their jobs because the wages are so low.

"All of them are basically working on poverty wages," said daycare provider Nancy Harvey, who cares for 12 kids from her home in Oakland.

She also says glitches in subsidized payments from the state are enough to risk her operation because she's not able to pay her bills.

Their cause has the backing of several lawmakers who have introduced bills that would clear red-tape that keeps low-income parents from getting sustained child care subsidies from the state.

The Women's Legislative Caucus is supporting $800 million dollars of reforms of the state childcare system, including money to allow daycare workers to get the same $15 minimum wage increase over six years that was signed into law this week.

Supporters are citing an Economic Policy Institute study that says increased school performance and wage potential for low-income children in daycare settings more that makes up for the cost to the state. The study also says parents benefit the economy by being able to work and go to school while their kids are in daycare.