On $8.00 an hour, it’s hard to enjoy even simple things like Christmas


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My name is Shenita Simon. I live in Brownsville in Brooklyn, N.Y.,  with my husband and three daughters, who are 9, 5, and 5 months old.
I work at KFC in Brooklyn, where I started out earning $7.25 per hour. After four months at KFC, I was promoted to shift supervisor and made $7.75 per hour, and only recently got a $0.25 “raise” that was promised to me.
It’s not enough to support us. I work hard to provide for my family. In 2012, my overtime hours were routinely paid in the following week’s check as regular hours.
Earning such low wages and having no benefits means I’m not able to save for emergencies. I got once scalded by 190 degree water on both my hands while working in the kitchen. Since I’m not insured through work and only have insurance through a Medicaid managed care provider, the burn unit at the hospital sent me home quickly to treat my own burns.
I was unpaid for months of my maternity leave, a month of which I had to take because of complications to my pregnancy. My doctor thinks the complications were related to the physical nature of my job.
To get by, my family has had to rely on my mom. I rent two rooms from my mom’s house and she helps with babysitting.
Having better pay would change my life tremendously. I could pay my bills on time. I could afford to send my kids on their field trips at school. The simple things in life that people take for granted–like Christmas–I could actually enjoy. We’re trying to save for our own apartment and our own car, but it feels like it’s virtually impossible earning $8.00 an hour. We wouldn’t have to stress so much if we made a living wage.
msnbc reached out to KFC’s corporate office for comment. They declined to offer one.

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