The sole aim of all governments is to reform and improve their societies. To achieve this, they create a social contract between the state and the citizens. Such laws include rights and duties designed for the common good of every member. Ideally, citizens show their support by paying taxes and supporting the government administration towards achieving its goals. In return, the government enacts public policies to safeguard the social lives of its citizenry.
Social policies are a reflection of a country's economic levels. However, in many countries, policymaking is dominated by powerful groups of elites who are sometimes inconsiderate of the ordinary citizen; hence, making specific policies uncomfortable and unbearable to citizens. With the middle class dominating most societies, inadequate social policies propel violence and social fragmentation, consequently resulting in the breakdown of a number of states. More specifically, social policies usually address issues of administration and welfare. Examples of government community policies include social security, education unemployment insurance, justice, healthcare, and poverty reduction strategies.
Democratic communities should advocate for equality of all its members, including minority groups such as the elderly, people living with disabilities, prisoners, drug addicts, the working poor, and the unemployed. Often, inadequate policies adversely affect these groups due to their inability to control the available social resources and systems. Hence, they require formulation of special provisions to address their specific needs. Policymakers are, therefore, obligated to help create a supportive environment for such groups by reforming regulations to suit them.
The minimum wages policy is evident in all countries across the globe. It differs from one country to another based on the economic levels. Minimum wages specify the total amount of remuneration an employee receives from their employer during a specified period; it is a non-negotiable collective agreement. However, despite the minimum wages policy protecting the rights of employees, poorly designed minimum wage provisions affect the employee adversely and subject them to an unending cycle of poverty.
Affected Group Population
A working poor is a group of people whose income falls beyond a specified poverty level. Most of them spend much time at work with minimal wages to show. As a matter of fact, this wage is insufficient to cater for all their needs, and most of them live in crumbling households. In addition, they are unable to afford necessities, save money, and maintain a job. Policymakers attribute the increase in the number of the working poor population to over taxation, overregulation, and poor skills in financial management.
Markedly, the working poor group faces a series of obstacles daily. First, they lack affordable housing due to their little wages. Those without close relatives with whom they can stay with end up living in poorly kept slum areas. At the same time, they are unable to arrange for transportation from and to work, given the fact that public transit in most cities is expensive and sparse. In fact, a significant number of them do not own a car. Moreover, the working poor parents experience childcare challenges. The cost of childcare is unaffordable for most of them, thus, they are forced to rely on their social networks for assistance, and, in worst cases, they are forced to skip work.
Policy Approach to Address the Working Poor
Indeed, policymakers at the national and state level governments have identified a need to promote economic and social growth. To achieve this, they have developed strategies to help the working low-income families increase their incomes and consequently manage their needs. State efforts to improve economic security include increasing access to education financial aid since education is a significant determinant to an economy's well-being. For instance, higher levels of schooling enable an individual to secure a better paying job. Additionally, it has been noted that high costs of living impact the low-income families negatively; hence, the government has developed policies towards lowering the cost of childcare services, housing, and reducing the rates of medical insurance. More importantly, the civil rights movements' advocacy for an increase in the minimum wages, especially for households struggling with poorly paying jobs has compelled the legislators to review this issue. Thus, there is a likelihood that the minimum wage will be increased to benefit the low-income earners.
Policy Goals for Addressing the Working Poor
Addressing the minimum wages for the working poor is the first step towards achieving developmental goals. Effective implementation of the policies ensures that the levels of unemployment and illiteracy are tackled. Essentially, the policy aims at ensuring that the minimum wage is not too little to service the needs of the employees. Therefore, it targets to provide a safe and affordable housing for everyone, enhance skills through education, ensure that all members of the society have affordable access to healthcare, promote awareness on proper financial management, and ensure that employers do not pay their employees wages below the minimum.
The Funding Levels and Alternatives to The Minimum Wages Policy
The number of the working poor increases significantly each day. Several agencies including the Washington voters have raised funds to help increase the minimum wages in organizations. A significant number have provided subsidies to institutions and, in return, these organizations have been able to implement the minimum wage policy. Opponents of the minimum wage policy argue that a guaranteed basic income program is a better alternative. The program is a government project that ensures that a citizen is assured of a salary despite their employment status. Thus, it is a program aimed at guaranteeing that an individual is financially stable at all times.
In conclusion, the minimum wages policy is a sensitive topic. Countries have had a series of debates on whether or not to increase it. However, minimum wages improve the lives of the typical low salary worker. It hikes the family income and, as a result, improves a household's access to education and healthcare services. Markedly, countries that have implemented the minimum wage policy continue to experience a more stable economy.
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