Blog

Acknowledging caregiving for the work that it is

By Emily Rusch
Executive Director

Today Gov. Newsom announced that his revised May budget will include a $1,000 CalEITC expansion for qualifying families with young children under six, doubling his original proposal back in January.

This proposed expansion of the EITC is a clear investment in California's kids and families. It’s also an acknowledgement that children under the age of six need caregiving 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Parents and family members often must forego other income to do the meaningful and important work of caring for loved ones in the home. We should do what we can to support them.

After all, there are 40 million unpaid caregivers in the U.S. and by 2060 the population of 65-year-olds in the U.S. will double. At the same time, automation and artificial intelligence are making it easier to produce the things we need with the work of fewer people, eliminating many traditional jobs in the process. It’s time to redefine work and provide support for the different ways Californians contribute to their communities that may not be captured by GDP or a bottom line.

CALPIRG recently launched our Work for Wellbeing campaign to redefine work and provide support for the different ways Californians contribute to their communities that may not be captured by GDP or a bottom line.

We're starting by working with Assemblymember Buffy Wicks on AB 1682, a legislative proposal to redefine the "work" requirement in the CalEITC to include caregiving for children under six, disabled dependents, and elderly dependents.

Back in January Gov. Newsom proposed lowering the required income to $1 to be eligible for the EITC. But some unpaid caregivers wouldn't even meet that standard. We urge the governor and legislature to consider tweaking the CalEITC proposal to allow taxpayers with young children to benefit even if they have $0 earnings. And in the future, support unpaid caregivers of the elderly and disabled as well. Caregiving is work, even if you don't get a paycheck.

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