In President Obama’s State of the Union Address on Jan. 20, the first and most discussed topic was the middle-class economy and new proposals to protect working families.
Raising the minimum wage to more than $15,000 a year is Obama’s first step. Obama has also advocated for men and women working the same job to receive equal payment and for all employees to get paid for overtime work.
“The minimum wage should definitely be raised and men and women absolutely should have equal payment for the same job. But at the same time, I think people are ignoring the problem of ethnicity and I believe we need a system to guarantee that everyone [is] paid the same ethnically, too,” sophomore Cyndia Zhou said. “People should always have equal opportunities.”
Obama has said that it is often an economic necessity for both spouses to work. However, data collected by the Bureau of Labor Statistics shows that 29 percent of women in America stay at home to take care of their children. Therefore, according to New York Times, Obama has proposed paid maternity leave that guarantees federal employees six weeks of salary after the birth of a child. In addition, with 43 million workers who do not receive paid sick leave, Obama also advocates for reform that will allow workers to accumulate up to seven days of paid sick leave every year.
“I think the reform is really ambitious but unrealistic,” junior Nadia Gov said. “Thinking about giving more money to the working families is good but where is the [funding] going to come from?”