Maryland Protects Workers From ‘Workfare’ Competition

The governor of Maryland signed an executive order Monday making it illegal for employers to hire welfare recipients to replace regular workers.

Two other states, Illinois and Minnesota, have adopted similar rules, but Maryland was the first to act in response to protests from low-wage workers.

Some charged that they were actually being displaced by welfare people who were less costly to employers because they still received aid in the form of free child care, subsidized wages and free transportation to their jobs.

Under recent federal and state legislation, millions of people on welfare are being moved off the welfare roles and into jobs. Often they pass through a transition stage, called “workfare,” in which their employment is subsidized or their new employer receives tax credits for employing them.

It is this sort of advantage over the working poor that the new laws are intended to outlaw.

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