The GED Testing Service has confirmed a change in the layout and administration of the GED test to occur on January 1, 2014. The GED Testing Service states that the switch is due to “changes in the landscape of education and the workforce” that require a new GED assessment that will better measure skills and prepare adults for college or a career.
The new 2014 GED exam will be led by Pearson, a computer-based testing provider, and will only be available on a testing center computer. The exam will last 7 hours as 4 subjects are covered instead of the usual 5. The majority of the test will remain multiple-choice questions, but there will also be evidence-based writing as well as a more comprehensive assessment of knowledge about science, social studies, and language arts.
The GED Testing Service believes that because technology is becoming so integrated into today’s workforce, it is reasonable and helpful for adults to test on computers as it will increase and assess their technology skills such as typing and general knowledge of hardware. It has also been said that the test will be more accessible and convenient with “one-stop registration and scheduling, enhanced test security, a flexible testing experience, and instant (unofficial) score reports”.
Due to the fact that the current GED exam will be phased out in 2014, those who are currently studying for or taking the GED exam must finish by the end of 2013 in order to avoid having to study for or take the new GED which will be vastly different from the current system as it will be aligned with the common core standards. The GED Testing Service has created a Closeout Campaign called “Your Future is Calling” in order to encourage those currently preparing for or taking the GED to finish by the end of 2013.
H.B. 6553, “An Act Establishing a Task Force to Study Family Medical Leave Insurance,” which was pending a decision in the Senate, passed on Friday night! As previously discussed in an earlier post, this bill will create a task force to analyze the feasibility of implementing an insurance program when someone needs time out of work to care for themselves during illness, an aging or sick loved one, or a newborn. The bill now heads to the Governor for a signature before becoming law thereby creating a task force!
The task force established by the bill will consist of influential members and advocates from diverse organizations across the state. Specifically, as according to H.B. 6553, the task force will consist of ranking members of the General Assembly relating to labor and public employees; the executive director of the Permanent Commission on the Status of Women; the Insurance Commissioner;the Labor Commissioner;the State Comptroller; and members of large organizations advocating for the elderly, the disabled/chronically ill, working-poor families and representatives of the interests of labor organizations, insurance companies and businesses appointed by different authority figures in the Senate and the House of Representatives.
The authority figures in the Senate and the House of Representatives, as designated by the bill, are expected to appoint desired task force members by July 31st, 2013. Once the task force is appointed, it will conduct FMLI research and specific studies until October 1st of the following year. Family Medical Leave Insurance has the ability to affect the lives of thousands of temporarily disabled and sick people throughout Connecticut. Moreover, it will help thousand of families maintain financial stability in times of crisis. For this reason, we are enthusiastic about the passage of H.B. 6553 and the implementation of a task force to research FMLI.
The Connecticut Family Medical Leave Insurance Coalition has released a brief video illustrating the need for a study of Family Medical Leave Insurance. Take a look and please share!
House Bill 6553, An Act Establishing a Task Force to Study Family Medical Leave Insurance is a first step toward providing Connecticut families with much needed relief. The bill has received a bi-partisan vote in the House of Representatives and now awaits a vote in the Senate.
For more information or to contact your State Senator, please visit the CT FMLI Coalition website.
A bill that is currently before the Legislature will assist workers who are temporarily unable to work due to illness or injury, pregnancy or birth of a child, or need to care for a seriously ill child or spouse. H.B. No. 6553, "An Act Establishing a Task Force to Study Family Medical Leave Insurance," seeks to establish a task force to analyze the feasibility of an insurance program which will provide short-term benefits to those with unforeseen or difficult medical circumstances. The House has just recently passed the bill, and now it awaits a decision from the Senate.
The bill holds incredible relevance to virtually all workers throughout Connecticut, as the majority of workers or their family members have been affected by a serious illness at one time or another. Furthermore, many women have had to take time out of work for a new birth or pregnancy.
For this reason, employees throughout Connecticut should unite on this issue and urge their local senators to vote yes on HB 6553. To preserve economic well-being and prevent financial struggles due to a potential or current pregnancy or illness, it is necessary to create our own task force and encourage our representatives to act. Establishing FMLI will ensure that all Connecticut employees can create a financially sound, advantageous environment for themselves and their families.
You can find out more information about the FMLI task force and find the link to contact your local officials on the Connecticut FMLI Coalition's website.
A bill before the Legislature will create a task force to study Family Medical Leave Insurance (FMLI), a wage replacement program that Connecticut’s workers can access when they need time away from work to care for themselves during an illness, for a sick or aging loved one, or a new baby. HB #6553, “AN ACT ESTABLISHING A TASK FORCE TO STUDY FAMILY MEDICAL LEAVE INSURANCE has been voted out of the Legislature’s Labor Committee and is now on the “GO list” for the House of Representatives.
We know that people are taking leave from work to deal with their own illness or because they are in a caregiving role to an aging parent, sick child or newborn. We also know that families cannot afford unpaid leaves and that many people actually call the Department of Labor in search of compensation while out on an unpaid medical leave.
However, before Connecticut creates an FMLI program, a thoughtful study and discussion must take place in order to understand how a program will be administered, who will be eligible, and how it will be paid for. The task force calls for the appointment of a diverse group of people, including representatives of large and small business, the insurance industry, advocates for individuals with chronic illness and caregiving responsibilities, and state departments and agencies to name a few charged with studying how Connecticut can make FMLI happen.
Anyone who would benefit or could benefit from FMLI is urged to visit the Connecticut FMLI Coalition's website and to contact their legislator. You can find information about the task force and how to contact your elected officials on the website.
People are always going to need to take time away from work, it’s a problem that isn’t going away. Elected officials need to hear that people are interested in FMLI and want the State to start planning.
Now more then ever, Connecticut should once more lead the way and establish a legislative Task Force to study Family Medical Leave Insurance (FMLI). The Taskforce will study how Connecticut can have a partial wage replacement program when people need time away from work to care for themselves, a loved one or a new child.
Many CT workers have even asked if such a program is available to them! According to written testimony submitted by Sharon Palmer, Commissioner of the CT Department of Labor, “the Department of Labor receives numerous inquiries from employees as to whether there is a program to provide compensation while on an unpaid medical leave from work”.
In March 2011, only 11% of private sector workers and 17% of public sector workers reported having access to paid family leave through their employer. That is a small percentage of people who have access to paid leave and for those who must take unpaid leave, many Connecticut workers are not covered or eligible for the job protection guaranteed under the Federal Medical Leave Act (FMLA), or they simply cannot afford to take unpaid leave.
Currently HB 6553, An Act Establishing a Task Force to Study Family Medical Leave Insurance (FMLI) is on the House of Representatives GO list. We hope that our Representatives will take the next important step and vote YES to establishing a Task Force to study this further.
In 2011, Governor Malloy signed the state’s Earned Income Tax Credit into law. Connecticut’s working families can now claim 30% of the federal EITC in a refundable tax credit. However, this year, Governor Malloy has proposed a cut, reducing the CT EITC to 27%. This cut would be detrimental to Connecticut’s families who have to choose between paying rent or buying food.
The Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) is a refundable tax credit that supplements the wages of low-income workers. The more wages people earn, the more benefits their families receive until a certain point when the benefits begin to decline and finally disappear.
Data provided by the Department of Revenue Services (DRS) shows that the credit is a boost to working families- including hundreds of thousands of children- in every city and town in Connecticut.
Any cut to Connecticut’s EITC is a tax increase on working families. Cutting the EITC will push still more children into poverty and hurt the state’s economy by taking money out of local communities and businesses.
“People who work full time should be able to support their families and stay out of poverty. The state’s EITC helps them do just that. It’s a small investment that makes a big difference to hard-working families across every town in Connecticut.” says Jim Horan, executive director at CAHS.
Kudos to CAHS Assistant Policy Director Jillian Gilchrest, whose vision and hard work have led to the formation of a new coalition in Connecticut to advocate for paid family leave.
Yesterday, the Coalition kicked off the day with a press conference, followed by a public hearing before the Labor Committee on a bill to form a task force to study how to implement paid family medical leave in Connecticut.
But perhaps most moving was testimony by Christine Palm, Communications Director for the Permanent Commission on the Status of Women. While PCSW is a member of the FMLI coalition, Palm she spoke as a mother and daughter, working with her husband to care for their own kids and aging parents.
"This task force is needed for the women who don't dare take time off," she said. "While they may have the right, they feel they don't have the freedom."
Even with an employer who understand the need for work-life balance, Palm said, she has hardly any sick or vacation time remaining, prompting her ailing mother to urge her to return to work after taking her to the emergency room.
"For people like me, whose mothers are alone in the emergency room," Palm said, "please consider forming this task force."
Visit the Coalition's web site to learn more or share your own story.
CAHS Executive Director Jim Horan has an excellent op-ed in today's Hartford Courant about the effective and necessary Connecticut Earned Income Tax Credit:
"By helping families make ends meet, the EITC helps build our economy now and in the future. Today, local businesses benefit because their employees spend the credit on things such as child care and car repairs that make them more reliable and productive employees. Tomorrow, we will also have a more skilled workforce because not only does the EITC provide struggling families with the support they need now, it also has proven long-term benefits for children that make them more productive adults. "
Jim recounts a recent study by CT Voices for Children and CAHS showing that the CT EITC helped families in every CT city and town, and touches on the numerous national studies showing the EITC's effectiveness in reducing poverty and future costs.
"Young children whose families receive additional income from programs like the EITC are healthier, perform better and advance further in school, and then work more and earn more as adults....The EITC is mostly used as a temporary support. Three out of five recipients claim the EITC for short periods — only one or two years. "
Governor Malloy showed great leadership in supporting the state EITC, which now stands at 30% of the federal credit. Reducing the EITC amounts to a tax increase in the working poor who can least afford it- and who already pay a higher portion of their income in taxes than more wealthy people.
"People who work full time should be able to support their families and stay out of poverty. The state's EITC helps them do just that. It's a small investment that makes a big difference to hard-working families across every town in Connecticut."
The Connecticut Legislature took a first step in addressing a very real need amongst working families in Connecticut– paid family & medical leave! The Legislature’s Labor Committee has introduced HB 6553, An Act Establishing a Task Force to Study Family Medical Leave Insurance.
If passed, a Task Force of individuals from various fields and professions will come together to study how Connecticut’s working families can access a partial wage replacement program when time away from work is needed due to one’s own illness, the illness of a loved one, or the birth of a child.
This year is the 20th anniversary of the Federal Medical Leave Act, which has been used more than 100 million times since 1993. But, FMLA leaves nearly half the workforce uncovered and of those who do qualify for FMLA, 8 out of 10 cannot afford to take unpaid leave. The FMLI Coalition believes that Connecticut families deserve better.
The next step in the Legislative Process will be a Public Hearing at which time Legislators will hear from the Public about why or why not they want a Task Force created to study FMLI. We want to hear from you!
How will partial wage replacement help you? Have you ever taken unpaid leave? What were your experiences? Have you ever needed to take leave but didn’t because you couldn’t financially take an unpaid leave? Your stories will help to inform the debate. Share your experiences and help Connecticut move one step closer to FMLI–a wage replacement program! Click here to submit your story.