“Families like ours are forced to choose.”
I recently stopped in at one of Orlando’s career centers and, after waiting in a long line of job-seekers, I saw the majority of listings offered were part-time and paid little more than minimum wage. I’m not sure they can call it a career if it doesn’t pay enough to make ends meet.
My husband and I both own small businesses that are part-time and seasonal. I work as a tax professional and often put in more than 80 hours a week during tax season, but things really slow down for me come spring. My husband owns a company that rents and assembles party equipment and the majority of his work is done on the weekends. With the part-time nature of our jobs, we are often looking for other forms of employment to supplement our incomes and provide for our four children.
I recently stopped in at one of Orlando’s career centers and, after waiting in a long line of job-seekers, I saw the majority of listings offered were part-time and paid little more than minimum wage. I’m not sure they can call it a career if it doesn’t pay enough to make ends meet. With four children at home, I need a job that is going to cover our child care costs or it’s not economical for me to take the position.
Child care costs are always rising, while wages remain the same. Florida raised their minimum wage by 12 cents an hour this year and associated that with cost of living increases. As a mother of four living in Florida, I can tell you with certainty that our family’s cost of living has gone up much more than what 12 cents an hour equates to.
There are programs available through the state that will help cover child care costs, but these programs aren’t available to families like mine. If our household income is even a hair above the poverty line, we are denied access to the assistance and we are left footing the bill for four children in daycare. Sometimes it feels like we are being penalized for doing well enough to pay the bills.
With wages too low to cover expenses, and state programs falling short of providing the assistance we need, families like ours are forced to choose between going to work or staying home with our children. Wages must be raised to accurately reflect the cost of living and high child care costs should certainly be factored into a family’s cost of living.